FAFSA delay continues as Nebraska students and colleges wait

March 1, 2024, 5 a.m. ·

FAFSA form on phone
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The U.S. Department of Education aims to send completed 2024-25 Free Applications for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSAs, to colleges this month.

The FAFSA typically goes out in October, but for the 2024-25 form, there have been roadblocks due to needed changes from the FAFSA Simplification Act.

The completed FAFSAs were supposed to be sent to colleges in February. Then, the U.S. Department of Education discovered a calculation error that would have resulted in less aid for some students.

The department is hoping to correct that mistake and start sending completed forms to colleges in March.

Jodi Vanden Berge, the Kearney director of college planning and outreach services for EducationQuest, said not having those financial aid offers makes it hard for students to decide where to go for college.

“Some of those colleges need early decisions, you need to be doing housing deposits so that you're guaranteed rooms, so there are a lot of factors that are affecting especially those seniors who are applying for the first time,” Vanden Berge said.

Another glitch students should watch out for is signatures dropping from their FAFSA. Vanden Berge said students will need to watch their messages to see if their signature didn’t go through. If a student needs to re-sign, it could take three to five days to have the signature process.

Vanden Berge said students should ensure they submit their FAFSA so it can be reviewed as soon as possible once the form is fixed. Outside of that, it’s a waiting game.

“There's not a lot we can do. It's kind of status quo at this point,” Vanden Berge said. “They're in review, and we just have to hope that the federal government is able to get them processed in March. I know there's a large amount of FAFSAs that have been submitted that are sitting there.”

According to the National College Attainment Network, 7,626 high school seniors in Nebraska have submitted the form as of Feb. 16. Last year, 12,111 had submitted the form by Feb. 16.

Vanden Berge said most colleges and scholarship organizations adjusted their deadlines to accommodate for the delay.