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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Students navigate FAFSA challenges, express frustration

Mariam Darb
College advisor Mira Ratchev sits in the College and Career Readiness building at Midtown reviewing applications.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has experienced multiple changes in its application process for the 2024-2025 aid year. 

Mia Jurkovic, a senior planning to attend the University of Michigan this upcoming fall, says she was frustrated about the new FAFSA changes.

“I was annoyed by the news because the new and improved FAFSA was supposed to expedite the process and make it easier,” Jurkovic said. “Even the application process was so difficult because you and your parents needed different IDs.”

After experiencing many errors, Jurkovic is in the process of reevaluating her submission to FAFSA.

“I am currently in the process of appealing my FAFSA because their data input program did not work as it should have,” Jurkovic said. “We had to manually input all the numbers and then it came back with an error. I had already applied to lots of my colleges by the time the FAFSA was even released but not knowing whether or not you can afford your dream school is hard.”

Even before filling out the FAFSA application, Jurkovic said she knew that she may not be able to qualify for anything.The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has experienced multiple changes in its application process for the 2024-2025 aid year. 

“I knew before even filling out the FAFSA that my family was not going to qualify for anything because I have two highly- educated parents who work extremely hard to provide for my sister and me,” Jurkovic said. “With that being said, the FAFSA was only important in terms of guaranteeing my HOPE eligibility.”

Jurkovic advised prospective seniors not to be intimidated by the FAFSA.

“For upcoming seniors, don’t be overwhelmed by the FAFSA,” Jurkovic said. “It’s not our fault that the federal government is still working out the best method to provide student aid.”

Junior Oscar Cannon, along with two of his siblings, prepare for the upcoming 2024-2025 FAFSA application. Cannon expressed concern over the process of completing it. 

“I plan to come in and balance the necessities needed,” Cannon said. “I just hope that I’ll get the job done efficiently. I am very hesitant about the upcoming selection process, and so are my parents.”

Arshia Larestani, a senior planning to stay in-state and attend Kennesaw State University, said the FAFSA complications did not greatly affect him.

“I was slightly annoyed when I heard about the constant delays, but I was never really bothered by them,” Larestani said. “I didn’t really have to take any steps in changing my college applications because the FAFSA delays luckily did not affect my application processes.” 

While Larestani had minimal problems during the process, he sought help from family members or others who had experience.

“I did not encounter any stressful moments, but for times where I was facing obstacles, I asked my sister for help, who already had experience in filling out FAFSA forms,” Larestani said.

For Larestani, FAFSA was helpful for him during the application process.

“I feel as if FAFSA, if I end up eligible for [any federal aid], will help me pay for tuition, hence why I ranked it as an essential form to fill out during my college application process, and my perception has not changed,” Larestani said.

Larestani advises rising seniors to just complete the process and poses it as a helpful tool during college applications.

“I would tell [rising seniors] to simply go through it, and that it’s not challenging at all,” Larestani said. “Processes like the CSS (College Scholarship Service) were far more complicated, and they should view the FAFSA as a helping tool; having a bright perception of an object will make things far less stressful.”

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Mariam Darb
Mariam Darb, News Section Editor
Mariam Darb is a sophomore and this is her first year on The Southerner. Outside of school, she is involved in Fashion Club and MSA. She is excited to be on staff and start writing.

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