Education Dept. to help universities with FAFSA processing

The U.S. Department of Education announced it will begin deploying federal personnel to help institutions prepare and process financial aid forms.
Miguel Cardona
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (Joshua Roberts / Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday it will next month begin deploying technical support to lower-resourced colleges and universities to help them process student financial aid information beginning. The news comes after a series of delays in its roll-out of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid. 

The new FAFSA application was designed to make it easier for students and parents to apply and be eligible for funding. Typically, prospective students can begin filling out the forms in the fall, but for the 2024-2025 school year, the forms weren’t available until January. Even then, students reported experiencing glitches and availability issues.

According to a news release from the Education Department, more than 4.7 million forms have been successfully submitted since the new application was released.

“We are putting all hands on deck and using every lever we have to make sure we can achieve the transformational potential of the Better FAFSA to make higher education possible for many more of our nation’s students,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the release. 


As part of the department’s FAFSA College Support Strategy, the department will begin deploying federal personnel to help colleges prepare and process financial aid forms. Specialized support and $50 million in federal funding is being made available to under-resourced institutions. The department also plans to begin releasing tools to help colleges prepare to quickly and accurately process student records and deliver financial aid packages.

The Education Department reported that it’s received more than 100 inquiries from institutions for support with processing the delayed applications.

The department said it will also begin sending system-generated test records, called Institutional Student Information Records, to schools and their vendors this week in an effort to process student records faster and more efficiently.

“System-generated test ISIRs are an important step in ensuring schools and their vendors can finalize their systems in order to process student records when they begin receiving them in the first half of March,” the department’s release read. “The Department will continue to update additional test ISIRs and open-source tools stored in a public Department repository leading up to the processing date.”

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