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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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FAFSA Redesign Delays Application, Causes Issues Among Seniors

The+Free+Application+for+Federal+Student+Aid+delayed+its+opening+this+year+from+Oct.+1+to+Dec.+31%2C+pending+changes+to+the+entire+online+submission+system.
Photo by Ella Baker
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid delayed its opening this year from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, pending changes to the entire online submission system.

In accordance with new regulations, the FAFSA application form opened Dec. 31 instead of the previous Oct. 1. For the first time since 2016, the site release for the 2024-2025 school year experienced a delay that not only confused users, but kept seniors from applying for over 2 months after the normal date which affects their chances of receiving financial aid.

“It was really difficult with the delay, so when I got around to applying, I felt as if I was being rushed. The soft launch also made it difficult to actually go about completing the form,” Madeline Torres, 12, said. 

The application process involves filling out citizenship information, student achievements and household income and annual tax details. However, these steps weren’t so simple for everyone involved. 

“It was really laggy, and it took two and a half hours to actually complete instead of the hour it was advertised as,” Torres said. “The actual result of making the process easier was difficult.”

According to the Federal Student Aid office, the redesigned website is supposed to mean students no longer require an IRS Data Retrieval Tool, because their eligibility calculations will be done on the site while they apply. This simplification didn’t apply to everyone, but for a senior, like Juan Zapata, applying was just a matter of filling in information and clicking ‘apply’.

“The FAFSA delay did not interfere with my application because I already had done the basic steps of registering,” Zapata said, “After making my parents an account and obtaining their tax reports, it was easy to fill out the FAFSA.”

Being a member of AVID gave Zapata an added advantage because the course’s content involves walking through all the steps of applying for university–including appealing for financial student aid. 

“I’m pretty content about how my FAFSA application turned out since it was easy, and I’m pretty sure I will get enough monetary aid to cover the rest of my college tuition,” Zapata said. 

The overall consensus determined that the FAFSA redesign simplified certain steps of the application process, but confused its site navigators due to late account verification and tech complications on the site.

“While I was submitting what schools I wanted to send my financial aid info to, it logged me out and said I reviewed, submitted, and signed my application. The same thing happened with my mom’s end of things,” Torres said, “Verification to even make an account was also difficult, it took both my mom and I 45 minutes to get verification emails.”

Despite the common bugs that often follow newly released technology and the belated release, seniors were ultimately able to submit their application for financial aid and meet their graduation requirements. 

“My advice for people who want to apply for FAFSA is to fill out the form as early as they can,  since FAFSA is first come, first serve,” Zapata said. 

Overall, the process, as arduous as it was described, required only preparation and initiative to know what to do and when to get it done. Additionally, recruiting support from your guardians may benefit you more than you think. 

“Make your account ahead of time if you can, and I suggest filling out your application alongside your parents for communication purposes,” Torres said.

 

About the Contributor
Ella Baker
Ella Baker, Staff Writer
Here to steer clear of my family and friends on Facebook. Hope you enjoy my work! :)
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