My FAFSA Disappeared! (Don’t Panic, It’s Safe.)

Families celebrated with the news that they could get into their FAFSA and make corrections, something that had been impossible until mid-April.

Students logged in to their Federal Student Aid dashboard in the hopes of finishing their FAFSA and getting their college aid.

But then, for some, the FAFSA was just…gone. Their form inexplicably disappeared.

This gut-wrenching moment has been chronicled repeatedly online since corrections opened this week.

Readers on Reddit’s helpful community, R/FAFSA, have been helping each other daily, with some posting frantic notes and others offering advice.

FAFSA APPLICATION MISSING,” posted one student. “I still can’t find my FAFSA application on my dashboard.”

“It looks like I never submitted mine,” another student offers, followed by another: “I’m having this issue too. I just talked to a person in the live chat and they literally gave no information.”

On the same thread, a quick helpful thought: “Are you on your phone viewing it? Because I found that my phone always said that but on my computer it is there.”

And then this glorious observation, offered from a fifth person: “Mine just reappeared.”

Collective relief. The thread went quiet.

 

Your FAFSA Exists But Can’t Be Seen

So what is happening? According to Federal Student Aid, this is a known technical problem:

“In some cases, an error occurs when an applicant starts a correction. When the applicant navigates to “My Activity,” they are no longer able to see their FAFSA application. The original FAFSA application still exists but cannot be seen by the applicant,” the agency notes in the “Corrections” section of its frequently-updated FAFSA Issue Alerts, adding that technicians have known about this since December. “There is currently no workaround to this issue.”

But that’s not quite true. The workaround, according to our users on Reddit and Facebook, is to wait. It does look like student FAFSA applications can randomly disappear and then reappear.

Try a desktop if you are on a cell phone. Try a different browser. If the form remains stubbornly invisible, at least we know from Federal Student Aid’s Issue Alerts that the form is safe. The recommendation from chat line staff is to wait one to three business days. Your FAFSA form should reappear at some point.

 

Be Careful With Web Searches

This is just one example of many ongoing technical issues that continue to cripple students who only want to finish their FAFSA and get their financial aid. Perhaps most frustrating is the lack of sharp, fully-informed communication from Federal Student Aid. Online communities report that the agency’s over-burdened phone and chat lines have offered a range of advice for this problem, some correct, some not.

And then there is the internet. Searches here can be confusing as well. Students searching up the term “FAFSA disappeared” will likely find this well-meaning from Federal Student Aid:

Can’t Find FAFSA® Form (2024–25)

 

You may have accepted an invitation to a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, but you have not been able to find the form after logging in.

 

This can happen if personal information, like your name or Social Security number, doesn’t match between your account and the information entered by the person who sent the invitation.

 

Check the personal information on your StudentAid.gov account to make sure it’s up to date. Then, check with the person who invited you to make sure they entered your information correctly when they invited you.

This is an answer — but to a different question. This advice is for students or parents who can’t find a form that they’ve been invited to contribute to, which is another huge technical problem, but separate from the “disappearing” FAFSA issue.

Students taking this advice would risk going down the rabbit hole of trying to correct personal information that is probably just fine.

 

 

EXTRA CREDIT: How to research FAFSA questions online

Doing random searches for help online may lead you astray. Many FAFSA errors are new so search engines are not delivering the latest news or intelligence. Plus Google may not really understand your question.

Always double- or triple-check information you get online. And, use reliable sources to confirm advice before following it.

We’ve found that there is indeed good information out there. Here are a few suggestions:

Federal Student Aid’s 2024–25 FAFSA Issue Alerts: There is a lot here and the list of FAFSA technical issues is getting longer by the day, but this is the best place to start if you are experiencing a technical problem with the FAFSA.

Reddit’s r/FAFSA: On the topic of the FAFSA, Reddit has been a very helpful. The page’s “Redditors” been working non-stop since December and have seen it all. Plus the comments from students and their family members – particularly harried parents – is honest and often hilarious. The only downside? A fair amount of cursing. Probably to be expected.

Facebook’s FAFSA and College Communities: There are a number of excellent moderated communities on Facebook that have been taking on the challenge of this new FAFSA. We encourage you to check out four of our favorites below:

 

How Do I Make Corrections on the FAFSA?