St. CHARLES, Mo. – Millions of potential incoming freshman college students don’t know where they’ll be this fall or how much financial aid they’ll get.

“I really feel for families right now. I have some members of my own family going through the same thing,” Lindenwood University’s Chief Experience Officer, Joe Sallustio, said.

Sallustio’s job is to help students with solutions to their problems. He added, “This is a black swan event. There is nothing like this that has ever happened.”

The event was spurred by glitches in the system of FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A new rollout by the U.S. Department of Education is meant to make the process smoother for students and families while also increasing eligibility.

Instead, the Department of Education said this week that it’s processed just 8.3 million FAFSA forms so far this year—less than half of the typical 17 million applications filled out in a year.

“It’s a hard process. It’s a new tool from the government. It was laden with a lot of errors and it’s late to the marketplace,” Lindenwood University President Dr. John Porter said.

Dr. Porter says the federal government’s breakdown data, called an ISIR, is now flooding Lindenwood.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve gotten 4,600 ISIRs, which represents a family, so we have to go through one by one and determine their financial needs,” he said.

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Lindenwood even has a dedicated website to help students and families.

Senator Josh Hawley told FOX 2 he also wants to help.

“Yeah, this is ridiculous,” he said. “I know because my office is working with a number of folks, Missourians, who’ve said they have the same problems. We’re trying to get the Department of Education and the other bureaucracies involved here to get with it.”

According to a new survey by U.S. News & World Report, 46% of parents say this year’s FAFSA delays impacted their child’s ability to make a decision about which school to attend.

The study adds that 42% of parents say their child was forced to defer college enrollment by at least a semester because of FAFSA delays.

Interestingly, students already in the FAFSA system are having better experiences.

“It’s kind of hard to tell these students that it is easier when they’re going through such a hard time because it is different for everybody,” Belle Biswell said. “Especially filling it out for the first time, but the longer you’re in college and the more you fill it out, it does get easier because it’s the same information every single time.”

Kendall Iwanski added, “I know it’s super difficult for incoming freshmen because they’re waiting on FAFSA answers to determine what school they’re going to.” She continued, “But in future years, it’s going to be a much easier process.”