The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

FAFSA application issues causes frustration among students, schools

A delay after an overhaul of the new federal financial aid application – among other issues – has caused anxiety

Are you having issues with financial aid this school year? Well, you aren’t alone in the process. Many students who have applied after waiting three extra months in order to apply for the new and improved “soft launch” of the federal application process have run into many issues when applying, such as not being able to enter their addresses or other pertinent information.  

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – a form that current and prospective college students fill out to determine their eligibility for financial aid – was officially open on Dec. 30 for students to apply for next school year.

Typically, FAFSA opens to students in early October, but because of the new and improved website the application form, saying they were going to make it a lot easier for students and parents not only putting in less questions but also adding more languages. This caused the U.S. Department of Education to delay releasing the latest form.

The department last month released information about an error that will effectively delay decisions even further for the more than 3.1 million students who have applied for financial aid. Colleges and agencies that dole out the aid won’t receive the students’ applications until March. That leaves a small window to hand out aid packages, since students are often expected to confirm admissions decisions in spring.

On Jan. 30 of this year, the department put out a statement noting it had updated the amount of aid that students can get, noting,,, “SAI calculation will allow students to benefit from an additional 1.8 billion in aid and ensure that all students can access the maximum financial aid they are eligible for.” 

But the department noted at the same time that there would be further delays, noting that “Based upon estimation for completing that work the Department will begin to transmit batches of FAFSA information to schools and state agencies in the first half of March.” Having to wait three more months from the original October date has caused nothing but frustration among students, their families and schools.

CCC Financial Aid Director Monica Rodriguez  said she was aware of the FAFSA delay, since the Financial Aid office has direct communication from the Department of Education, but that CCC students likely won’t face delays in getting their financial aid packages

Luckily the 2024-2025 FAFSA that was recently filled out does not come into effect for students until “around August of 2024 when disbursements for the new year starts,” according to Rodriguez. 

“There should not be a delay. The delay that people have seen has been from getting the data to the schools, however FAFSA comes out in fall of 2024,” Rodriguez said. More than half of students at CCC – 63.18% – are financial aid applicants.

The issue appears to be more threatening to prospective university students, who typically have to commit to a university in the spring, according to Inside Higher Ed.

And although it’s not expected to affect the Financial Aid fall release date, there are still many people who are struggling to finish their applications and frustrated with the aid application process. They have taken matters to social media such as TikTok, Instagram, and more, either informing or showing frustration about how hard the application process has been, showing errors, and saying how they cannot fill out their FAFSA application and are “unable to complete this action.” The comments on their posts affirm a widespread frustration, with many saying that it has been especially hard for undocumented students and parents since the usual area to fill out the parental information requires a social security number. Other people have also noted – sometimes joking –that because of how hard FAFSA has become this year, they plan on “not going to school” or “dropping out” because of the situation. Others have stated that their application is still in review and they are not able to edit information that they might want to change for schools and more.

 Even though students do not need to scramble as much for the fall semester nationwide, new and old FAFSA applicants are frustrated by FAFSA’s errors. The U.S. Department of Education  has claimed they are trying to fix these errors as they come to light.

 To stay up to date with current news and updates and or questions about FAFSA, check out FAFSA Knowledge Center for more information.

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About the Contributor
Nojixa Anacleto
Nojixa Anacleto, Associate Editor

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