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FAFSA: Students, colleges scramble as new application rolls out online for 2024

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

FAFSA Delays Leave Students and Families Anxious About College Financial Aid

In a year where college acceptance letters brought joy to many, the excitement has been overshadowed by delays in financial aid decisions. A critical component for many families, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), experienced a later-than-expected update, causing widespread uncertainty among students and their parents.

Financial aid: FAFSA completion rate in New York still 5% below pre-pandemic levels

Jenny Nicholas from Keene, New Hampshire, echoed the sentiments of many by stating the importance of understanding the financial commitment before making a college decision. The delay, attributed to a revised FAFSA form that was supposed to be more user-friendly and account for inflation, has resulted in schools postponing their financial aid awards.

RELATED: FAFSA issues could ruin college dreams of students across the U.S.

Virginia Tech is among the institutions that extended their admission deposit deadline to May 15, acknowledging the challenges families are facing with the FAFSA process. Agata James, a mother from Queens, New York, emphasized the limbo state her family is in, awaiting financial aid packages to make an informed decision for her son.

Education Department Taking Steps To Address FAFSA Issues

The Education Department has recognized the issue and is taking steps to mitigate the delays, including reducing verification requirements and providing technical assistance. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona emphasized the department’s commitment to resolving these issues.

With over 17 million students relying on FAFSA annually, the delays have not only caused stress but also introduced technical glitches, complicating the application process for many. Errors related to Social Security numbers and difficulties for parents without legal immigration status have added to the frustration.

This situation highlights the significant impact financial aid has on college decisions, particularly for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students. As families wait for clarity, the hope is for swift resolution to ensure all students can pursue their educational aspirations without undue financial burden.