The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Newer FAFSA causing more stress for students and families

In hopes of becoming a shorter and simpler form for college students, the newer FAFSA has come with nothing but difficulties. Usually launching on Oct. 1 each year, the 2024-2025 academic year form was delayed until late December 2023, and has been mired with technical and administrative issues.

These complications have heightened stress for many students who rely on financial aid to attend college.

According to Best Colleges, students won’t be receiving their financial aid award offers until March due to the Department of Education needing more time to adjust to changes in inflation. This delay is causing difficulties in college decision making and determining loans for students. 

Jessica Nelson, supervisor and interim vice president for enrollment management, said Utica University is sensitive to this issue and anxiously awaiting for the FAFSA data to come through. 

“The FAFSA delay has completely changed the normal college admissions timeline that students and families are familiar with,” Nelson said. “This delay is adding another layer of stress to an already stressful time.”

Kaelyn Buehler, a prospective college student who is a senior at Oriskany High School, said the new form is personally causing her a lot of stress, as well as her friends in regards to choosing what colleges they will be able to attend.

Buehler said the delays are frusterating and are causing her to make last minute decisions. 

“With the FAFSA delays, it is making it really hard to see if I’ll be able to choose a college in an appropriate amount of time,” Buehler said. “How much I pay for college depends on how much financial aid I get which dictates what colleges I can choose from. If it keeps getting delayed, I might not get any financial aid at all and possibly miss the opportunity to go to my dream college if accepted.” 

The FAFSA has a reputation for being a stressful aspect of college enrollment, but with increased challenges in the revised version, the application process is now even more rigorous.  

Ryli Mcgorry, a freshman at Utica University, had first hand experience with the technical issues. 

“The website is usually doing maintenance so a lot of the time when I was trying to fill out my forms they either didn’t save or I couldn’t call the website for help in the time that was allotted,” Mcgorry said. “I’ve been on hold with people from the site for over two hours and it’s really inconvenient if you have a job or play a sport.” 

This challenge made her enrollment process extremely difficult because she did not get her full aid package, requiring her to take out a bigger loan, Mcgorry said.  

As these issues persist, students and their families are still struggling, playing a waiting game for the data to be processed. 

Utica University is here to help and give support through this process in any way possible, according to Nelson. 

“We will be flexible with enrollment deadlines, knowing that families will need more time to review financial aid once received,” Nelson said. “To be prepared, we encourage families to create their FSA ID and submit their FAFSA as soon as possible.”

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