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  • Writer's pictureErin Campos

Navigating FAFSA Delays in Senior Year

As students in their last year of high school prepare for college, they face unexpected challenges with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is essential for receiving financial assistance; however, delays this year are causing issues for students and colleges.

Farrington High School's college counselor, Regan Honda, explained that FAFSA is a free application for federal student aid that seniors fill out. Honda emphasized that “every student planning to attend college, whether a community college or a university, should complete the form.”

Honda explained how the FAFSA application process and qualifications work. The application process evaluates family finances, including how much parents earn, what they have in the bank, and their investments. Additionally, FAFSA checks the student's finances such as savings and earnings. “This information comes up with a number that determines how much money a student qualifies for,” Honda said.

As a college counselor, Honda has been familiar with FAFSA for many years until they made

changes this year. Honda stated, “All states use FAFSA and everyone is having problems, everything is set back.” Seniors are not getting notified regarding their financial aid; as a result, college applications have been extended. “Colleges normally put May 1st as the deadline for students to declare what college they’re going to.”

Janae Garcia, a current senior in the Health Academy shared her experience with FAFSA. Garcia said, “My journey has been stressful but completed because there were certain questions I had difficulty answering.” Garcia stated that it is incredibly beneficial as she qualifies for a large amount of aid; however, her aid has still not been fully processed. “It is stressful because college decision day is nearing, and we haven’t received most of our financial packages yet.”

She has shared a tip, “One of my advisors advised me to complete it before the end of January for higher chances of getting the most aid I qualify for, and I suggest that others do the same.”

As the FAFSA delay persists, colleges extend deadlines providing some relief for seniors such as Garcia. With decision day approaching, the worry remains about seniors’ college plans and financial aid.

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