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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

FAFSA creates trouble for MAST seniors

Changes to form have made it difficult for parents to provide required information
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is essential for federal student aid. Logo via U.S. Department of Education.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been open for applications since Dec. 31. Unfortunately, for that same amount of time, it also hasn’t been working properly.

FAFSA is a service that provides federal financial aid for students attending or enrolling in college.

This year, FAFSA forms were changed to make the process simpler and shorter, however, it seems to be creating more problems than those being solved.

The FAFSA form changed in many ways. Most significantly, anyone considered a “contributor” (a parent or guardian) on the application had their federal tax information transferred directly from the IRS into the FAFSA form.

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“The FAFSA ID would not save…parents were not being allowed into the form…linking social security to the legal name” MAST college admissions advisor, Ms. Unethia Fox said of the most prevalent problems among MAST seniors when filling out FAFSA forms.

Due to these issues, FAFSA is backed up and seniors that have applied for aid, have not been told how much aid they will be receiving from the government. This poses a problem for students wishing to commit to a college who don’t know if they will be able to afford it.

Fox told The Beacon that the Department of Education originally announced students would receive their financial aid award letter by Mar. 1. Now, it is said to be Apr. 1.

She went on to explain that more than 50 percent of MAST seniors applying for college have come to see Fox with problems submitting the form. Others can’t even submit their applications because of a multitude of problems with the necessary form.

“I had to call up the helpline and spend upwards of half an hour on hold for them to get the issue resolved.” Senior Yans Fuentes said of his communication issues with FAFSA support. “I have been waiting more than a month for my form to be processed.”

Even after submitting the form, difficulties persist.

This affects all MAST seniors, especially low-income students relying on FAFSA to be able to attend college. For them, this is not just a frustrating problem but an infuriating one.

Fox declared this year’s FAFSA the most challenging rollout. However, Fox is convinced that it’s just the “kinks” of the new form and that next year everything should be back to normal.






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About the Contributor
Camila Gomez
Camila Gomez, Staff Writer
Camila Gomez is a freshman and journalist at MAST Academy. This is her first year here at MAST and her first time trying out journalism. She’s looking forward to writing for The Beacon. “I chose journalism because language arts is my favorite subject and it sounded fun” she says. Gomez’s decided on coming to MAST for the location, as well as the academics. “I actually almost went to Immaculata-La Salle High School but eventually decided on MAST,” Gomez said. Besides school Gomez really enjoys American football. “If this school had American football I would love to cover it for the newspaper.”
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