The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form has been giving undocumented applicants and their families problems since its soft launch late last month.
Due to a systemwide error, when parents who do not have a Social Security number begin filling out the form, they receive a message saying they are “unauthorized to act on behalf of the student since they already have a 24–25 FAFSA form”—even if their child has not started a form yet, according to a running list of issues maintained by the Office of Federal Student Aid regarding the new site. Undocumented parents are also locked out of contributing to an existing FAFSA if their child invites them to do so on an already-started form.
The issue is ongoing and there is currently no workaround, according to the FSA.
State and institutional financial aid application deadlines are fast approaching, and if the issue persists, eligible students with undocumented and noncitizen parents could be locked out of federal aid funds—which can often make the difference between affording and forgoing college. (This paragraph has been updated to correct who might be locked out of federal aid.)