ED Details Updated Technical Fix and Outstanding Issues for FAFSA Contributors Without SSNs

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

The Department of Education (ED) in an electronic announcement posted on Tuesday evening detailed technical updates to the 2024-25 FAFSA form, seeking to resolve issues that are preventing submission when a contributor does not have a Social Security number (SSN).

Per the announcement, ED has resolved two issues that will enable these applicants to access the form. The first technical fix concerns an error message on the “student information” page stating that a parent without an SSN who was attempting to start a 24-25 FAFSA for a student was “unauthorized to act on behalf of the student since they already have a 24-25 FAFSA form.”

The second error concerned contributors being unable to contribute to the FAFSA due to their lack of an SSN. These contributors may now log in to FAFSA.gov to complete their section of the FAFSA, after they are invited to participate in the form by the student.

While addressing these glitches, the department also uncovered an additional pair of issues that still need to be resolved.

First, all users without an SSN have to manually enter their financial information. There is currently no estimated timeline for addressing this issue, but once resolved, ED will attempt to retrieve federal tax information through the direct data exchange with the IRS and will reprocess these FAFSAs when necessary.

The second issue, which ED is looking to resolve in the coming days, comes from applicants inviting contributors without an SSN to participate in their form. The error occurs in two situations: when the personally identifiable information (PII)  entered the invitation does not match the information  attached to the contributor’s StudentAid.gov account, or when the person sending the invitation sends multiple invitations, often with different variations of PII. For now, FSA is advising applicants receiving this error message to wait for the expected fix before inviting any contributors without an SSN to the FAFSA.

ED also announced that it will publish a new tips document for students who have a contributor without an SSN.


Publication Date: 3/13/2024

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