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Students Become Millionaires, Risk Aid, Because of Decimal Error

/ Source: Associated Press
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All it took was one mistake to transform thousands of low-income students into millionaires, making it less likely they could qualify for grants and loans. The error stems from an online form change to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, made Jan. 1 that expanded the space to enter income. Thousands of students have since then unnecessarily entered a decimal point that the system was ignoring. That means someone with an income of $20,000.19 could inadvertently register income of $2,000,019. The Education Department has said about 165,000 applicants have been identified as affected. The department said Monday a fix was made to the system last week and applications submitted this year are under review.The FAFSA form is used to obtain federal loans and grants and millions are processed annually. Some states and colleges also use it to determine eligibility for other aid.

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-- The Associated Press and NBC News staff

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