FAFSA Fails

What is Financial Aid looking like for the 2024-25 school year?

05.03.24
FAFSA Fails (Getty Images)

Between tuition, supplies and furnishings for a dorm, the expense of going to college is a very high order for most.

About 993,500 students rely on financial aid from federal institutions such as FAFSA to decide which college to attend. This year a series of delays, due to updates to the process, have stunted these decisions and many find themselves in limbo. They can't notify their school of their decision to participate if their FAFSA isn't processed and the schools can't send out financial aid packages as early as they usually do. 

Comparing which school will offer a student the most aid is crucial to one's verdict on Decision Day this week and FAFSA’s processing in 2024 has not followed promptly with it. 

Many schools have kept this in mind and issued a series of date changes for when a student must commit. But this only covers one of the many issues people have faced with this year's FAFSA.

FAFSA’s decisions to update their site for the 2024-2025 school year have caused delays that haven’t taken place in previous years. A decision to make the application process shorter and increase the amount of aid available in consideration of inflation has caused problems for some.

There have been accounts of first-generation students with parents needing a social security number who have had difficulty getting their FAFSA processed and their accounts verified. Many people post online about their troubles with the 2024-25 FAFSA, with some students being unable to meet the graduation requirement of completing the form due to delays and technical difficulties.

Here is an example of someone struggling with one of these issues:

@luc1naaa First gen problems #fafsa #financialaid ♬ original sound - 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐬 ✧˚ ·

@pikelawsongf not the anxious tongue biting & the crying😭 #fafsa #fafsaform #federalaid #college #collegestudent #commuterlife #commuter #immigrant #immigrantfamily #immigrantparents #immigrantstruggles #mexicanamerican #mexican #american #latina #chicana #firstyear #cpp #california #fypシ #pikelawsongf ♬ sonido original - 🎀NohemiGlam🎀

To further dive into how this year's FAFSA has affected students, I talked to Julia Bermudez,17, a first-generation student who has her solutions in mind.

YR Media: “If there could be any improvements made to the site what would you like to see change?”

Julia Bermudez: “I think they could afford to make it less broken. I got constant errors that didn't allow me to put my mom as a contributor. My mom being an undocumented immigrant with no work permit makes it so we have an unsteady income, I get they have to verify that my mom is who she is, but people have had to take gap years because of how long FAFSA takes when it comes to undocumented parents. I shouldn't have to stress more than my friends with documented parents.”

The changes that attending college brings are stressful enough and making such a large investment toward one's future is a big choice. People spend years working towards getting accepted into the college of their dreams. But the decision to take on outstanding debt is just as impactful. 

As someone who’s also in the process of attending college,  filing out the FAFSA has been tedious. From the site crashing to ensuring the parent section was completed on time, calling it “stress” only scratches the surface. Many of my peers and I are just counting the days until financial aid packages are received and then we can all take one more step forward and a deep breath. 

Siah Brawley (she/her) is a high school senior interested in media and culture. 

Edited by Nykeya Woods

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