Huffman, García, Allred, Barragán Announce Permanent Fix to Federal Student Aid Form

Education Department Resolved Issues Preventing Students Whose Contributors Lacked SNN to Submit the Form

March 13, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02) shared the news that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced an update resolving the known issues within the 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online form impacting students who have a contributor without a Social Security number (SSN). The Department has made technical updates that enable students with contributors without an SSN to now successfully submit the form.

Last month, Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jesús “Chuy'' García (IL-04), Colin Allred (TX-32), and Nanette Barragán (CA-44) led 88 of their colleagues in a letter urging the ED to address these issues facing students in mixed-status families as they try to submit the new FAFSA form. The Department released temporary guidelines designed to help students immediately following the members’ letter.

“I'm relieved the Department of Education heeded our calls to resolve this inequitable issue facing students attempting to submit their forms for financial aid,” said Congressman Huffman. “If you’re a U.S. citizen, the immigration status of your parents should never be a barrier to receiving federal financial aid for higher education. Although that is already the law, the technical errors within the updated FAFSA form effectively kept students in mixed-status families from successfully submitting their applications, causing fear, stress, and missed opportunities for many kids across my district and the country. It was a completely unacceptable error that is thankfully now behind us, and I hope to see the Department take the steps necessary to ensure issues like this never arise again.”

“I welcome the news that the Department of Education is finally offering a more permanent solution to the error in the new FAFSA form that kept students whose parents don’t have SSNs from submitting. My colleagues and I spent months urging the Department of Education to address this issue in full,” said Congressman García. “After we sent our letter in February, the Department issued temporary guidelines, and I’m glad they heeded our call for further action. These improvements promise to make filing easier and clearer, answer previously unanswered technical questions, and make processing time more expedient for mixed-status families. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the announced improvements are fully implemented, that other errors are addressed, and that all changes are communicated to stakeholders, teachers, counselors, students, and their parents.”

"Affordable access to education is fundamental to ensuring that every student can succeed, get a good job and pursue their version of the American dream," said Congressman Colin Allred. " I applaud the Department of Education for working quickly to address the issue that mixed-status families in my district have faced with the new FAFSA form. This fix will allow students across the country to get the financial aid that they need.”

“U.S. citizens should never face additional barriers on their path to higher education – regardless of the immigration status of their parent (s),” said CHC Chair Barragán. “Tens of thousands of eligible students, many of them Latino, were put at risk of not receiving their aid in time for college deadlines because of a glitch in the new FAFSA form that would not allow them to proceed if their parent (s) lacked a Social Security Number. I’m proud that the Department of Education has implemented a more permanent solution for these students following a letter that 92 House members, including 28 CHC Members, sent to the Department. I hope these scenarios will be avoided in the future. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will continue to monitor this situation so that all of America’s students have a fair chance to gain an education.”

More details on the fix can be found here and below:

The ED published an Electronic Announcement that provides an update on the technical changes made to enable students with contributors without an SSN to now successfully submit the FAFSA form. Some students may still encounter some trouble in submitting the form; the ED is aware of these remaining issues and working on resolutions.

The ED will release a new tips document in English and Spanish for students who have a contributor without an SSN to help ensure they can successfully navigate the form. Individuals may access the new tips document and sign up to receive updates from the Department on issues impacting students who have contributors without an SSN at

The ED will also update the 2024-25 FAFSA Issue Alerts page to reflect the updates noted in the announcement.

Resolved Issues

As of today, the ED implemented and verified two technical fixes that have resolved access for impacted individuals:

  1. Previously, if a parent with no SSN started the 2024-25 FAFSA form for a student, the parent received an error message on the “Student Information” page. This incorrect error message stated that the user was “unauthorized to act on behalf of the student since they already have a 24-25 FAFSA form” even if the student had not started an application.
  2. A contributor with no SSN was not able to contribute to the form, even if the student started the application and invited the parent or spouse to contribute. Contributors who were previously impacted by this issue may now log in to to complete their section of the online FAFSA form, after they are invited to participate in the form by the student. The Department still recommends that the student start the application and then invite the parent to contribute to their form for the best user experience and to avoid any further glitches.

Remaining Issues

As part of the implementation of this fix, the Department uncovered separate issues that still need to be resolved:

  1. All users without an SSN, including those with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), have to manually enter their financial information. We still encourage all impacted users to enter an ITIN, if they have one. Once a permanent fix is identified and implemented, the Department will attempt to retrieve federal tax information via the direct data exchange with the IRS and will reprocess the FAFSA, as necessary, to reflect any changes. There is currently no estimated timeline for resolution of this issue.
  2. Some applicants and their contributors are encountering an error message when inviting contributors without an SSN to participate in their form. This occurs when there is a mismatch of personally identifiable information (PII) that is entered on the invitation compared to the PII attached to the contributor’s account, or the person sending the invitation to participate in the FAFSA form sends multiple invitations, often with different variations of PII. Right now, we are advising impacted families to wait to invite any contributors without an SSN to their form. We are working to resolve this issue in the coming days and will provide updates as they are available.

The Department is releasing a new tips document for students who have a contributor without an SSN to help ensure they can successfully navigate the form. Individuals may access the new tips document and sign up to receive updates from the Department on issues impacting students who have contributors without an SSN at