FAFSA delays may be detrimental to families and students planning to attend college.

By Landon Crann

Students and families should be weary in the coming months due to another delay of FAFSA from the U.S. Department of Education, extending the delay from late January to the first half of March. One major part of the delay comes from the department fixing a $1.8 billion dollar mistake. This mistake may have been especially detrimental to those of lower-income. This mistake could be attributed to a possible decline in college enrollments due to feeling discouraged from not receiving the correct amount of money from the FAFSA.

The deadline for college decision day, on May 1st, leaves very little time to be able to weigh their options in terms of what school they want to attend. This is on top of how they will be able to support themselves and pay for school. With colleges needing weeks to load the data, it may be until April that college students will know just how much they’re getting out of FAFSA. The department is hoping that the college will reconsider giving students more time to accept offers of admissions presented to them in light of the mistakes they have made.

Students who have been enrolled in FAFSA may have been at risk had their error gone unnoticed with consequences such as students appearing to have more money available to them than they actually do. This would have knocked many out of the running for federal, state, and institutional aid. The main goal of the department is to allow for more students and families to be able to afford and enroll in college to further their education, but making the application easier does take time. The more time that is taken, creates a larger concern as it will lead to a domino effect. Foundations who rely on said data are being affected as time goes on as they need the data to dispense scholarships.

“These unacceptable delays from the Biden administration create the real likelihood that many students will forgo college because they cannot choose a school without knowing their eligibility for student aid,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), the top Republican on the Senate Education Committee. Many critics blame the Biden administration for these delays from FAFSA, putting many students in a very tough place. The Department of Education, regardless of who is to blame for the delays, is working hard to bring the aid to students as quickly as they possibly can.