Low-income and Latine families affected by the 2024-2025 FAFSA application

As the new semester has begun, students are now preparing for the next school year, and with that comes the FAFSA application. While normally the application opens on Oct. 2, this year’s 2024-2025 FAFSA application had a rocky relaunch with multiple glitches and setbacks. Students and families went into the winter break and were still waiting for answers.

The application fully launched on Jan. 8. As students and families are filling out applications, many delays and errors have prevented them from completing their
applications. According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the issues facing the FAFSA application disproportionately affect low-income families.

Eric Hoover, the reporter from the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote about the many issues students face when filling out these applications. “…In low-income communities, it’s easy to find parents who don’t have an email account, who don’t know how to use a computer, who don’t have reliable internet access, who don’t read in English…”, said Hoover.

On top of these problems there’s also been a “glitch” that makes it so parents without a Social Security Number are locked out of completing the application. Peggy Metzger, the Director of Financial Aid and Executive Director of Enrollment Manager, said that while some students can finish the application with no problem, others are unable to complete the form due to glitches in the system.

“Once students are in there and have finished, they are not able to go back at this time and make corrections until March,” said Metzger. As for the “glitch” that has been affecting the low-income and Latine students and parents, Cal Poly Humboldt’s financial aid department is aware of the problem that is occurring for these students and does not know when it can be fixed.

“From what I understand, it isn’t about ‘I’m low-income, and therefore I can’t do it,’ it’s more about students with individual special circumstances. Some of the unusual circumstances/methods are not fixed yet. So, those can be low-income students, those can be underrepresented minority students but it’s not because of that,” said Metzger.

Though the low-income and Latine students are still left with no answers, Cal Poly Humboldt’s financial offices are flexible for those students who are still struggling to get their application in.

“What I can tell you is that we will be as flexible as possible with aid packages, what I can’t tell you is when the Department of Ed will be able to fix it,” said Metzger.

Cal Poly Humboldt’s financial aid website has student service availability hours for guidance on their application. They also have services for Spanish-speaking students and parents.

Graphic courtesy of Canva

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