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The Student News Site of Pace High School

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Changes to Financial Aid Process Cause Distress

photo Illustration: Donna Duong

It’s that busy time of the year again for the seniors –the college application process. However, this year has been very different from others, more specifically, related to financial aid. With many college applications being due right at the beginning of the new year, there has been much panic around the need for the filling of financial aid.

Right at the opening of Free Application For Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA, on Dec. 31, many families were on the site causing it to have heavy traffic for days on end.

A large number of students and their families had been waiting for the FAFSA platform to open after its usual release date, Oct. 1, changed to Dec. 31 this year.

Senior Dania Ali said, “I didn’t really mind it opening up later because it gave me more time to focus on essays and college applications, but it was also confusing because they changed the date multiple times.”

When FAFSA had opened, students that were finished applying to college were then being flooded with the emails and text messages from them to complete financial aid.

This wouldn’t be as stressful as it is if it wasn’t for the repetitive site crashes every time people would attempt to fill out their application. “I hate having to constantly reload the website because it glitches out and it doesn’t save any of my information,” Dahmya Moore, a senior, said.

FAFSA introduced its newly formed application which is said to make the process much easier due to it being shortened. This new change is a plus, especially since many seniors are immersed in school work, although some are on edge about not being able to accept enrollment in colleges.

Moore said, “Not filling out the FAFSA application has affected me to not enroll into any admitted colleges because I’m not sure with how much financial aid I’m getting.”

In the summer of 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action cannot be applied to college admissions. This changed the way many seniors approached the college application process this year and how FAFSA operates.

Everything in regards to financial aid had been up in the air until Dec. 31. Students dependent on financial aid to assist their journey into college were helped by the affirmative action system. It gave people of color a more even playing ground when it came to financial aid.

However, everyone has different opinions about it, as senior Micheal Perez stated, “I’m annoyed they got rid of affirmative action because I was more dependent on it since my grades aren’t at a high enough caliber.”

FAFSA has gone through drastic changes throughout the years and this year is no exception.

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Donna Duong, Reporter

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