Education Dept. urges students to complete FAFSA as school year end nears

By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

The Education Department is ramping up an outreach campaign to get high school seniors and college students to complete the federal financial aid application, trying to regain ground lost to months of delays and technical problems with the new form.

The tumultuous rollout of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid has upended this year’s admissions cycle and left college-bound students awaiting financial aid offers when they should be submitting enrollment deposits. Some students are still trying to complete the FAFSA, after months of waiting to make corrections or being unable to get past one glitch or another. Many colleges delayed their deposit deadlines to account for the FAFSA problems.

On Tuesday, the Education Department said the dust has settled and students should have no problems completing the financial aid form. The federal agency said it is teaming with hundreds of superintendents to track their schools’ progress, encourage completions and remind students that they can now make corrections to finish the FAFSA.

“Any students who have been waiting to fill out a FAFSA need to know that now is the time to fill it out,” Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal told reporters Tuesday. “We know how important this is, and we will continue to do whatever we can to get students all of the financial aid for which they are eligible, and to help colleges make financial aid offers as quickly as possible.”

The Education Department said it has processed and transmitted 8.3 million financial aid forms to colleges, states and scholarship organizations. It has also processed nearly 1 million corrections since making the function available in mid-April, some four months after the form went live.

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