The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Delays with the FAFSA leave students in the dark over financial aid

A delayed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process left seniors struggling to make important college decisions for the 2024-2025 school year. The new FAFSA form could not be accessed until December 30, 2023, compared to the usual date of October 1. Due to the delay, colleges did not receive timely financial aid data and could not provide students with financial aid offers in time for them to make deadlines for college commitments.

FAFSA is a crucial factor used to determine how much financial aid a student might receive. By filling out FAFSA, students can be eligible for work study funds, loans and even federal grants to aid them in their tuition fees. Millions of families rely on aid to finalize their college decisions.

In December 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act was passed to make applying for financial aid easier for families and to expand eligibility to federal student aid and Pell Grants. The 2024-2025 FAFSA form, launched by the Department of Education, was also re-designed to meet this purpose. However, it’s come with more difficulty than flexibility. Due to technological difficulties, the Department of Education only sent financial aid data to a handful of schools. The effect snowballed as colleges needed to wait for updates from the form to be able to offer financial aid to students, which pushed back offers until around April.

“It’s frustrating because it’s tradition that by May 1, which is college decision day, many students usually start planning,” said 12th grade counselor Ramona Singletary-Robertson.

“Some students may have to go to summer bridge programs by the school of their choice. So all of those things are being delayed, and it has a trickle effect on summer planning.” Singletary-Robertson continued, “There are a lot of financial decisions having to be made when you make that final college decision.”

Senior Mia Gerson, who is going to CU Boulder this fall, said, “I think it is very important for the application process to be as stress-free and easy as possible. It’s nerve wracking waiting to see if you are going to get any financial aid, the cost for college is a huge problem and leads to lots of debts.”

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Duy Nguyen, Junior Editor
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