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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

The “new and improved” FAFSA isn’t new and improved at all

Melissa Morales
girl stressed out about the glitches FAFSA has caused lots of students

FAFSA is the new and improved government application to help students get financial aid, or so we thought. 

As a senior, I was excited to start the application process. I wanted to start my plan for financial help right away. FAFSA was supposed to be released on Oct. 1, but since it was being ”improved” it was released on Dec.31. As someone who desperately needs money for college, I stayed up all night to fill out the application the night that FAFSA was released but all it said was “planned maintenance”. It took my parents and I two days to complete the form.

FAFSA planned maintenance (Danielle Murr)

Not only was the planned maintenance a problem but also with the amount of glitches it came with. It would log you out or close the tab. Emails saying there were mistakes on the application, a parent signature was missing, things needed to be corrected, and so on. The glitches slowed the process of applicants getting their student index numbers. I sent my application out on Jan 2 and didn’t get my student index number until Apr 16. This setback has caused so much unnecessary stress to students heading out to college. 

All the problems that FAFSA has developed have shown studies that the number of FAFSAs submitted will be 2.8 million lower, a decrease of 19%. Students have preferred not going to college than going through the absolute hassle of filling out FAFSA. 

The FAFSA setback has also caused delays in financial aid with colleges. Many students still haven’t received financial help from the colleges they’re looking at. This FAFSA improvement hasn’t improved anything for anyone. 

This setback has hurt a lot of students’ decisions in colleges, including Kupu Sumi

“I submitted my application a couple of months ago and just recently got my student index number. I just don’t know where I’m going to go because college is so expensive and we’re ending school soon, so it’s very stressful,” Senior Kupu Sumi says.

the number of FAFSAs submitted by the end of August will be about 2.8 million lower than the same time last year, a decrease of 19%

— Mark Kantrowitz education expert

We don’t deserve to be lab rats in an attempt to improve FAFSA for future generations.

Not only has this setback hurt students but it’s also caused trouble for teachers as they have thousands of questions from students about this process but can only tell the students it’s a glitch. College and career counselor Allegra Giulietti-Schmitt talked about what she thinks about FAFSA.

“We try to open the college resource center every Thursday to help students, if FAFSA was formally opened in October we would have a FAFSA expert coming in once a week during their lunch periods, as well as helping students sporadically in the second semester. In my professional opinion, FAFSA will be a good government aid once all of the complications are worked out so I’m remaining cautiously optimistic, and helpful for the next year because when everything starts working how it was designed to work, it will be easier than previous FAFSA years,” Giullietti-Schmitt said. “As of right now it has not been simplified because of the delays and glitches but the data privacy has remained rock solid with no breaches of data.”

FAFSA will be a great network to get financial aid but as of right now the class of 2024 has struggled all year because of these glitches. Thousands of students need financial help but haven’t been able to get it because of the glitches FAFSA causes. Everyone deserves a new and improved FAFSA, an easy way to get financial aid and have the opportunity to go to college.

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About the Contributor
Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales, Reporter
I'm a senior at Niles North. I like to play the violin along with binge watching shows on Netflix. I'm Guatemalan and I love to travel.

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