FAFSA causing delays among college students across country

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) recently changed its system, which has caused a delay in the application process. This delay has many students and faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy worried.  

FASFA is widely used by families and students to help with aid for college tuition. Therefore, there is an extremely high demand.  

Any student, regardless of household income, who wishes to be considered for federal, state and school financial aid can apply for FASFA.  

According to the United States Department of Education, the FASFA Simplification Act was passed on Dec. 27, 2021. This act was made to make the application process easier and faster for FASFA.  

This simplification act has caused a huge delay, even today, in the processing of applications. The U.S Department of Education has continuously prolonged the dates of when students will receive their selected amount of money. 

The change that FASFA decided to make is generally considered a good change. Instead of 100 questions, the application is now 40 questions with an auto skip generator.  

The auto skip generator allows everyone to have a different number of questions based off previous answers.  

Tyra Rounds is the Executive Director of Admissions at UDM, and she has seen firsthand how the delay in FASFA has affected incoming students.  

“From a recruitment standpoint, the department of education is reworking FASFA in a good way so that it is shorter and simpler for families to complete,” Rounds said. “While families can start filling out in January, the government was not ready to process the information. The second part of the delay was the government having to fix the processing issue.”  

People in the financial aid office at UDM are also feeling the pressure from the delay as well. Jessica Rouser is the Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid. She has been dealing with the delay and doing the best she can for students. 

“Incoming freshman or transfer students won’t be able to create their financial aid packages until April and we usually have them in December,” Rouser said. A lot of schools are holding tight to the May 1 deadline, but some are extending to June 1. 

Things should start to look up once the applications start to process.  

“FASFA 25-26 is going to be amazing,” Rouser said But I think the biggest problem right now is how they have not processed or processed very few applications. 

Though the process has been moving along slowly, the new and improved FASFA should create an easier and more timely experience for students and families across the country.