FAFSA Temporarily Drops SSN Requirement

FAFSA form | Image by Richard Stephen/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a temporary workaround to its student aid application that accommodates the families of unlawful migrants, allowing submission without a parent signature for students whose parents are not U.S. citizens and, therefore, do not have Social Security numbers.

Federal Student Aid under the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is the country’s largest provider of student aid and helps more than 10 million students every year, per its website. The application, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), was revamped in December and did not allow for the completion of the parents’ financial information section without providing Social Security numbers, reportedly due to a “glitch,” per The Texas Tribune.

Without the workaround, many students whose parents are unlawful migrants are purportedly prohibited from submitting their FAFSA to receive taxpayer-backed college grants.

Cassidy Rodriguez is one example of a student who needs aid to attend college but whose plans have been derailed by her inability to complete her FAFSA.

“What am I going to do? We really need the money for college,” Rodriguez told The Texas Tribune.

The DOE’s temporary workaround will allow the application to be submitted to meet student deadlines; however, students must update the form later, otherwise, their FAFSA application will be rejected. The department is looking to have a permanent fix for the glitch by mid-March.

Despite many individuals welcoming the workaround, others have criticized the DOE’s FAFSA rollout.

Texas-based Academic Success Program executive director Sara Urquidez told The Texas Tribune, “In many ways, this proposed solution is too little, too late with the burden of making difficult decisions on how to proceed forward with financial aid applications being placed on students and families with limited knowledge of how the financial aid process works.”

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