FAFSA failures push back college decisions for Utah students

College decisions are typically fully finalized this time of year, but in 2024, many students and colleges are still stuck in limbo.

Cost plays a big role in the decision-making process for those pursuing higher education, but glitches in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) mean millions are still in the dark about how much they will pay.

Many schools did not receive student data from the U.S. Department of Education until March, and even then millions of forms were found to be riddled with errors.

There are particular concerns about those who are low-income or first-generation students who may not be able to decide to study at all until they have secured this funding.

Nationally, the number of students who filled out FAFSA documents fell 29 percent compared to last year.

“This year's FAFSA fiasco told them not to bother applying for financial aid,” said Jill Desjean, senior policy analyst at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “It’s too hard, the system is broken. We really need to start countering this narrative.”

However, students may still have time.

The University of Utah, for example, pushed back its enrollment deposit deadline by more than a month to June 3 due to FAFSA issues.

Anna Harden

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