Huffman, García, Allred, Barragán Share Education Department’s Temporary FAFSA Guidance, Call for Permanent Solutions

92 Lawmakers Call on ED to Implement Their Requested Actions to Fully Solve Error Blocking Students in Mixed-Status Families

February 20, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jesús “Chuy'' García (IL-04), Colin Allred (TX-32), and Nanette Barragán (CA-44) shared the news that the Department of Education (ED) is rolling out new guidelines to provide a temporary process for students to meet critical deadlines for non-federal financial aid while the ED addresses the issue preventing contributors without a Social Security number (SSN) from starting or accessing the 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. This announcement came after Reps. Huffman, García, Allred, and Barragán 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.

“If you’re a U.S. citizen, the immigration status of your parents should not be a barrier to receiving federal financial aid for higher education. But due to an error in the new FAFSA form, students in my district and across the America are hitting a wall, preventing them from getting the support they depend on to get a quality education,” said Rep. Huffman. “After weeks of elevating this issue with the Department of Education, we’re glad to see it has provided guidance on a temporary patch for certain students – but we need permanent solutions for all students, and we need them now. I want to see ED finalize an actual fix and implement the rest of solutions we laid out in our letter to make sure these inequities are completely behind us.”

“Students eligible for financial aid have the right to access that aid, regardless of their parents’ citizenship status. But because of a technical error in the new FAFSA form, many of my constituents from mixed-status families were left without answers and no path forward as college financial aid deadlines crept up,” said Rep. García. “My colleagues and I spent weeks urging the Department of Education to address this issue, and it's a good thing the Department has finally heeded our call by issuing these temporary guidelines. But let’s not confuse this action with an adequate answer to the full set of concerns we outlined in our letter. The Department must continue to rectify these errors in rollout so no student is blocked from the aid they need.”

“Parents’ legal status should not affect the likelihood of eligible students receiving their financial aid packages. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of U.S. citizen students were put at risk of not receiving their aid in time for college deadlines because of a glitch in the new FAFSA form. Because of this technical error, students with parents who do not have a Social Security Number, were unable to submit their FAFSA forms until the Department of Education (ED) launched a workaround. I appreciate ED for developing this short-term fix, but it’s necessary we receive answers from the Department to better prevent these situations from occurring again,” said Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Nanette Barragán.

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 to ED urging immediate action to resolve the technical issues with the FSA ID system. Additionally, they asked the Department to provide a timeline for resolving this issue; to work with schools and state governments to mitigate the problems; and to conduct outreach to proactively inform students, counselors, and other stakeholders about when families with undocumented parents can expect a solution and how to submit their forms once it's resolved.

With today’s announcement, students whose required contributors do not have an SSN and who face a critical deadline for state, institutional or other scholarship aid can follow a set of instructions to submit an incomplete FAFSA application. The Department of Education’s new guidance indicates it will resolve the technical error in the first half of March, at which point affected students must submit a completed application.

The letter was endorsed by: American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), California Community Colleges, City Colleges of Chicago, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), College of DuPage, HANA Center, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), Illinois Head Start, Immigration Hub, ImmSchools, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES) at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), Moraine Valley Community College, Morton College, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), National Education Association (NEA), National Federation of Teachers (NFT), National Immigrant Law Center (NILC), Northeastern Illinois University, Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, The Education Trust, Western Illinois Dreamers

The letter was signed by Representatives Pete Aguilar (CA-33), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), André Carson (IN-07), Greg Casar (TX-35), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Judy Chu (CA-28), Lou Correa (CA-46), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), John Garamendi (CA-08), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Dan Goldman (NY-10), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Seth Magaziner (RI-02), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Grace Meng (NY-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Joe Neguse (CA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Scott Peters (CA-50), Brittany Pettersen (CO-07), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-47), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Raul Ruiz (CA-25), Andrea Salinas (OR-06), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Adam Smith (WA-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-35), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Norma Torres (CA-35), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-03), David Trone (MD-06), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Juan Vargas (CA-52), Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).