May 28, 2024

Applicants warned of delays at federal student loan application site

WASHINGTON (WCSC) – The U.S. Department of Education said Monday that families applying for financial aid for college may experience “pauses” on the site now that the application process has opened.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Federal Student Aid, a Department of Education office that provides grants, loans and work-study funds for college, said it will initiate pauses at its Free Application for Federal Student Aid website. The office began accepting completed applications of the 2024-2025 form as part of a “soft launch” Sunday night.

The form will be available “for periods of time over the coming days,” the post states, while it monitors site performance and responds to “any potential issues.” During the pauses, the post states, the form will not be available while site maintenance is conducted.

“Students and families will have ample time to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA and do not need to rush to fill out the form immediately during the soft launch,” the message states. “If you visit the site during a pause, check back later to access the form.”

The Education Department says the application information won’t be given to colleges until late January, several weeks after most college applications are due. That means colleges will be on a shorter timeline to determine aid and that students will get their offers at a later date than usual.

Several users on X are criticizing the message, saying that student-athletes in particular need to be able to fill out their applications as soon as possible so that they can respond to acceptances.

“You now have thousands of frustrated students sitting at a computer hitting refresh,” one user responded.

Another user said she reached the fourth step of five before a pause occurred, adding she didn’t think it saved anything she did.

Those who are able to submit their application will receive an email confirming it was received, the plan’s website states. It also states that anyone who is able to submit their application during the soft launch will not have to resubmit it after a pause, but states that if a submitted form is not available during a subsequent visit that they should please try again later.

The application will allow students and families to apply for financial aid to cover attendance at colleges between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025.

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