FAFSA financial aid ordeal continues as college acceptance deadline nears

A month before students must decide where they will go to college, the botched revamp of the federal financial aid process has caused aid applications to plummet by more than 30% compared to last year. Now, California universities are bracing for steep declines in student enrollment. 

“I have not seen numbers this low in years – even during the pandemic we had higher numbers of applicants,” said Sonia Jethani, associate vice president of Financial Aid and Compliance at California State University East Bay. “It’s not looking good right now, all across the universities. It’s not just East Bay.”

For the first time in more than 40 years, the Department of Education released an overhaul of the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – in an attempt to make it easier for students to apply and qualify for college financial aid.

But what followed was a bureaucratic nightmare impacting millions of students and thousands of schools.


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