FAFSA Glitches Delay Financial Aid, Leaving Students in Limbo

Kansas students face delayed financial aid packages due to FAFSA glitches, causing struggles with college decisions and tuition deposits. The U.S. Department of Education has fixed the issues, but students are still receiving aid offers, with a June 30 deadline to apply.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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FAFSA Glitches Delay Financial Aid, Leaving Students in Limbo

FAFSA Glitches Delay Financial Aid, Leaving Students in Limbo

Kansas students are struggling to decide on colleges and pay tuition deposits due to errors with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, which has caused delayed financial aid packages. The U.S. Department of Education has fixed glitches with the new FAFSA, but some high school seniors only started receiving financial aid offers this past week, after the traditional May 1 college decision day.

Why this matters: The FAFSA delays have far-reaching implications for students' college choices and financial futures, as timely financial aid decisions are crucial for students from low-income backgrounds. Moreover, the glitches may exacerbate existing inequalities in access to higher education, potentially leading to a decline incollege enrollment rates.

Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal reported that 9 million FAFSA submissions have been received since January, far fewer than the roughly 17 million received in normal years. Students who complete a FAFSA now can expect their records to be sent to colleges in 1-3 days, with the deadline to apply being June 30.

Wichita East High School senior Sophia Uriarte described her experience: "It has just been a struggle since December... The website would be crashing or it would not allow my parents to enter their emails. It was a mess, honestly." Cammie Kennedy, a college and career counselor at Wichita East High, added, "They just weren't ready. And because of that, and because of some of their errors, it has delayed students to just now discovering what they really got in aid."

The FAFSA delays have led some students to switch colleges after learning their first choice isn't offering as much financial aid as they had hoped, while others are considering delaying college altogether. Some colleges, including the University of Kansas and Newman University, have pushed back their deposit deadlines in response. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate has raised concerns about ongoing issues and delays with the FAFSA process.

College counselors are working diligently with students and their families to compare aid offers and navigate the application process. They advise students to carefully compare financial aid offers, focusing on net price, and to consider loan options and support for four-year graduation. Students are encouraged to seek help from college counselors, even after graduation, to finalize forms or compare aid offers.

As the June 30 FAFSA deadline approaches, students and families continue to grapple with the impact of the delayed financial aid packages. The U.S. Department of Education assures that the glitches have been resolved, but the effects of the delays are still being felt by students across the country as they make critical decisions about their college futures.

Key Takeaways

  • FAFSA errors delayed financial aid packages, affecting college decisions.
  • 9 million FAFSA submissions received, fewer than usual, with 1-3 day processing time.
  • Delays impacted low-income students, potentially affecting college enrollment rates.
  • Some colleges pushed back deposit deadlines, while students consider delaying college.
  • College counselors advise students to carefully compare aid offers and seek help.