CollegeTracks on WTOP Radio

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"Will the FAFSA fiasco force current college students to drop out?"

by John Domen

Normally, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process, commonly known as FAFSA, begins in the fall and high school seniors know how much financial aid they qualify for by the spring — as they decide where to go to college.

Current college students receiving financial aid also rely on it every year to help them continue their education. But even in late April, well past the deadline for most schools, there’s uncertainty and chaos involved in the process, leaving incoming freshmen unsure if they can afford to go to college and leaving current college students unsure if they can continue.

This school year, the process didn’t begin until Dec. 31 as the federal government finally overhauled the FAFSA application system with a new process that was supposed to be simpler and easier than before. Instead, it’s been the opposite of that.

“It’s been absolutely horrible,” said Elmer Mendoza, of Silver Spring, Maryland, who is finishing his sophomore year at Johns Hopkins University where he studies mechanical engineering. “If something gets resolved, there’s another problem. And if that problem gets resolved, then there’s another problem. So yeah, it’s just a never-ending process of problems.”

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