Indiana announced Thursday that the state’s March 10 FAFSA deadline would be extended to April 15 this year in response to the failure of a federal data retrieval tool that complicated the process for families attempting to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The state’s commissioner for higher education, Teresa Lubbers, made the announcement, which effects anyone seeking financial aid for college in Indiana.
“There were serious security issues found in the FAFSA system, but the federal government did not communicate many of these problems to the states. They simply turned off the data retrieval tool. This left thousands of Indiana families hanging,” said Eric Wignall, vice president for enrollment at Ancilla College.
“Today’s announcement means Hoosiers can go back into incomplete online FAFSA forms and complete them. This also means, if people just didn’t do it– that they didn’t bother or forgot– they can do it now and get in under the deadline,” Wignall said.
Anyone seeking financial aid to attend colleges or universities in Indiana can file the FAFSA, a free online form created to make the financial aid process faster and easier. Difficulties with the data retrieval tool– a tool meant to import previous tax data– surfaced early this year.
The extended deadline means that if the data import tool did not work, students and parents can go back and enter 2015 tax data by hand and still meet the deadline. https://fafsa.ed.gov/
“There were several changes to the FAFSA this year. The date it opened was earlier and the use of the prior tax year were changed to make filing easier. I don’t think anyone, at any level, thought there would be such a significant problem with importing the tax data,” Wignall said.
This also means everyone gets another chance at financial aid in Indiana.