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New fix allows parents without Social Security numbers to complete FAFSA

A close-up of a FAFSA application. (WISH Photo, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (MIRROR INDY) — Parents without Social Security numbers are now able to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the first time since the form launched late last year, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week.

Revamping the FAFSA was supposed to make it easier for families to apply for financial aid for college. But the rollout of the new form was riddled with problems. Parents, guardians and spouses without Social Security numbers couldn’t access the form due to a glitch, leaving students and families in limbo. In Indiana, FAFSA applications are down 25% compared to last year, according to the National College Attainment Network. 

Last month, the Department of Education provided a partial workaround that instructed students to leave the fields for their parents’ Social Security number blank and enter their personal and financial information manually. 

Although the form is now accessible to nearly everyone, the Department of Education is still working to resolve several issues. For example, the new FAFSA will automatically copy tax information from the Internal Revenue Service for most families, but people without a Social Security number still must manually enter their tax information. 

Under a new Indiana law, high school seniors are required to fill out the FAFSA or opt out by April 15, which is also the priority deadline to get state aid. You can learn more about how to fill out the FAFSA here. 

Claire Rafford covers higher education for Mirror Indy in partnership with Open Campus.

Contact Mirror Indy reporter Claire Rafford at or on Instagram/X @clairerafford.