Government disconnect delays student loans and grants

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Some Indiana college students are finding the government loans and grants they counted on aren't there.

There's a glitch in the complicated system of student financial aid. Students and universities are working to make sure no one gets short changed and everyone gets to class.

Vencent Hill, a University of Indianapolis senior, a semester away from graduating , went on-line to finish registering for classes and got a scary surprise. "You have holds which prevent you from registering," the message read. "Because I owed a lot of money," Hill said.

"I was devastated honestly that I couldn't register for classes," he explained. "It was not a good feeling. It was disheartening honestly."

IUPUI students are getting those same feelings. There is a break down between the IRS and the Federal Application for Free Student Aid almost every student college student fills out.

The students' and families' financial entered into that FASFA form has to be verified by the IRS before the Department of Education approves the federal loans and grants.

The verification web site says it is down for maintenance. "It is a bit of complicated problem," said Marvin Smith, Executive Director of Student Financial Services at IUPUI. "The IRS told our national organization, and told all of us that it has nothing to do with the government shut down," he explained. "Do you believe that? "It is ironic that it happened at this time" Smith replied.

While Spring classes are starting, universities are navigating an alternative system.

Students can receive their financial assistance by providing two year old signed tax returns. That may not be easy for families who've moved, filed electronically or earned so little money they didn't need to file a tax return. "The thing about it low income students trying to prove that they are poor, they have to do it in so may ways, " Smith said.

Hill admits he procrastinated and should have submitted the necessary information sooner. He thinks he solved the problem and submitted the necessary paperwork

"It's been very confusing, very perplexing," he said "It's been a complicated process." A process he hopes is competed by the the time classes resume Monday.