Problems with federal financial aid program leaves many college bound students in limbo

FAFSA glitches leave high school seniors in limbo

FAFSA glitches leave many high school seniors in limbo


Computer glitches in the U.S. Department of Education’s recently overhauled financial aid system have left many students unable to commit to a school.

Jojo Henderson, a senior from Pittsburg, Texas, was stuck in limbo for months while waiting to learn what sort of financial aid he might get.

“I’m frustrated because it’s just like, you do everything that you’re supposed to do and then you have to wait on the government to catch up,” Henderson told CBS News.

Henderson filled out the free application for federal student aid, known as FAFSA, almost five months ago. With just weeks to go before graduation, he finally received his financial information last week — after some college deadlines had already passed.

Typically, the Department of Education releases the forms on Oct. 1 and sends the students’ data to colleges within one to three days of a submission. This year, the application forms came out three months late. It’s estimated that more than 25% of colleges have still not sent aid packages, according to a report last week from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 

New Jersey senior Jailen James finally received her aid package close to the decision deadline. She told CBS News that before it arrived, she considered giving up and not going to college.

“I was just so tired of waiting,” she said.

As the FAFSA fiasco continues, Sara Urquidez, who oversees college counseling for thousands of public school students in the Dallas area, said those who are stuck waiting should follow up as much as possible.

“Ask for extensions. Ask if deposits for housing are refundable. Ask for anything they possibly can to help make [a?] decision,” she told CBS News.

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