Why mother is 'nervous' over new FAFSA delay: 'I don't know what to expect'

Amy Martin: 'I keep going to look at the website and it’s not up yet'
Posted at 7:04 PM, Dec 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-28 19:06:33-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Long awaited changes to the forms college students fill out for financial aid are causing some confusion and anxiety during the holidays.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is notoriously long and intrusive but critical for prospective students in determining how much financial assistance they might receive.

Lawmakers sought to revamp the process in 2020 but multiple delays from the Department of Education are leaving some families unsure of how to plan for the next school year.


“I keep going to look at the website and it’s not up yet. It's making me nervous, because I don't know what to expect,” mother Amy Martin said.

Martin’s daughter, a senior at Godwin High School, submitted applications to three universities for Fall 2024 and already received an acceptance letter from one. However, she’s unlikely to receive an accurate picture of how much each school could cost until the Spring due to delays in the FAFSA application process.

The FAFSA is typically available online in early October through but due to the proposed streamlining of the form, applications may not be posted until Dec. 31.

Allie Arcese
Allie Arcese

“The devil is really in the details. When it comes to these things everyone agrees that simplification is a good thing, but when it comes down to how to do it, that’s a different story,” said Allie Arcese, spokesperson for The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

At the NASFAA, professionals working in financial aid offices around the country are calling on the Department of Education to communicate realistic timelines and increase customer support throughout the transition to the new FAFSA format.

Arcese encourages applicants to get the FAFSA filled out as soon as possible but not to panic if they can’t get it completed the moment it goes online. Instead, pay attention to the FAFSA Priority Filing Dates set by an applicant’s preferred colleges.

Anderson Dahdouh and family
Anderson Dahdouh and family

For adult students like Anderson Dahdouh, the delayed financial aid process makes it difficult for him to plan how many courses he can take next year.

“Right now the amount of budget that we have allows me to take four classes a year,” the father of two said. “If I'm not awarded any additional funds that drops it down to two classes for the full calendar year. So that's really doubling the amount of time it takes me to wrap up my undergrad studies.”

In the meantime, prospective applicants should go ahead and register for a Federal Student Aid ID. The FSA ID can take multiple days to process but each parent and student listed on a FAFSA must have their own ID number to sign and submit forms electronically.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

SHARE on social media to SPREAD the WORD!

EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews



Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.