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Rectifying Thousands of Financial Aid Applications After Latest Calculation Error

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Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

The US Education Department has come under fire after discovering a major calculation error in student financial aid applications, affecting over 200,000 students. The error, which was discovered by a vendor working for the federal government, has forced the department to reprocess the applications in question.

This latest blunder comes as the department is already struggling to work through a backlog of over 4 million financial aid applications. Fortunately, 1.3 million applications have been processed correctly and will not be affected by the error.

The update that led to this mistake was intended to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, but faced significant delays. The latest misstep involves the Student Aid Index formula, which failed to factor in certain financial assets for some students.

Advocates are concerned that the chaos in the financial aid process could deter students from pursuing higher education. Senate Republicans are now requesting a hearing with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to address the issue.

The FAFSA overhaul was promised to simplify the form and expand aid to more low-income students. However, delays and technical glitches have marred the rollout of the new system. The department has processed 1.5 million applications out of the approximately 6 million received so far, rushing to send them to colleges and states.

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Despite the challenges, the focus remains on helping students and families navigate the financial aid process and supporting colleges in producing aid offers quickly. The Education Department is working diligently to rectify the errors and ensure that students receive the financial assistance they need to pursue their higher education goals.

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