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FAFSA workaround allows Texas students with non-citizen parents to apply for college financial aid

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A workaround to a glitch in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) reportedly allows Texas students with immigrant, non-citizen parents to apply for financial assistance to colleges before the March deadline. 

Parents without a Social Security number have not been able to add their financial information and complete the FAFSA since the latest version of the online federal financial aid form launched in December. 

But the U.S. Department of Education rolled out a temporary workaround allowing students facing approaching deadlines from their universities and colleges to submit an incomplete FAFSA online without a parent’s signature. 

Those students will receive an email that confirms they submitted the FAFSA, which can be shared with their colleges or universities to meet the deadline, The Texas Tribune reported. 

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The Department of Education said it expects that a fix for the glitch will be completed by the first half of March. 

Students who at first submitted an incomplete version of the form will then have to go back and have their parents add their signatures or risk having their FAFSAs ultimately rejected. 

The state’s priority deadline to apply for financial aid is March 15. 

The left-leaning think tank Every Texan estimates through an analysis of census data that one in four children in Texas has at least one parent who is not a U.S. citizen. Those parents often do not have Social Security numbers. 

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FAFSA is considered the best option for about 1.6 million Texas college students to access federal, state and school grants and scholarships. The federal government’s decision to roll out the temporary workaround represents the first time the Department of Education publicly acknowledged the glitch and its impact on immigrant households. 

Yet some immigration advocates who spoke to the Tribune considered the workaround confusing and burdensome.

According to the Tribune, Texas college counselors are evaluating each case of students with non-citizen parents before advising whether they should wait to submit their FAFSAs until the glitch is fixed or use the workaround. 

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