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FAFSA Frustrations

Mrs.+Jones+works+every+day+in+her+office+to+aid+students+in+their+FAFSA+and+college+applications.
Shelby Gibson
Mrs. Jones works every day in her office to aid students in their FAFSA and college applications.

Across the country, students are having issues filling out or finalizing their FAFSA, and Wheeling Park is no stranger to the struggles.

“We never truly got to complete the FAFSA because a problem arose where we had to fill in our tax forms from 2022,” senior Kyler Cox said. “We didn’t have that with us because we were told that we didn’t have to have anything with us to fill out the FAFSA.”

Cox knows what he wants his major to be in college, but without loan information from the FAFSA, he cannot choose a school.

“I haven’t decided between the two colleges that I’ve been accepted at,” Cox said. “It’s depending on my FAFSA information, and it’s depending on what other scholarships I can get, and what’s the better prices.”

With decision day approaching for a majority of colleges, Cox is filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

“It’s really, really stressful,” said Cox. “I can feel myself losing sleep over it because I know I have to decide on a college before getting more scholarships to help pay for college.”

Cox isn’t alone. Fellow senior, Rylin Russell, filled out her FAFSA months ago, and yet it still hasn’t been processed.

“The actual filling out of it only took a couple of days,” said Russell. “I had to get my parents’ signature on it to verify the tax forms were correct and everything was going good with that. Then, when I sent it to one of my parents to get their signature, it never sent through, but the form submitted, so it read as an error and has been in processing since January 3.”

Russell expressed frustration at such a long delay in her student loan information.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. It was more of a glitch in the system that now is hurting me,” said Russell. “A lot of colleges that I applied to use an estimated index or the CSS Profile… [but] I don’t have financial information for some of my main choices.”

Despite the issues, Russell has some advice to offer to incoming seniors.

“If this issue persists, or even if it doesn’t, I would say do it as early as possible. I started mine the second it was open, and I’m still having these issues. It would have been so much worse had I waited to do it until February, or even later than that, like some people are inclined to do.”

However, students aren’t the only ones struggling. Student counselor and mother to a senior, Mrs. Jones, is seeing issues with other students and her own son.

“On my own son’s, it said there wasn’t a signature and he signed it, but then it said a parent hasn’t signed,” said Mrs. Jones. “I had to put things in for my written tax return even though they’re pulling it, so that confused me. I didn’t have to do that last year. If you could upload from the IRS, you didn’t have to put any numbers in, it just did it.”

Counselors received a full day of training in (insert date), however, things weren’t as thorough as you’d expect.

“When we had training for it, it hadn’t come out yet. Even they were still working out some of the bugs,” Mrs. Jones said. “They noted some of the things the changes that were going to be happening, but we didn’t have it in front of us to go through.”

Mrs. Jones has suggested that any students having trouble with their FAFSA, contact the college they will be attending if they’re having issues with their FAFSA.

“The people at the colleges, since they are using it, they know [how to use] it… We generally refer [students] to the colleges or we have them call. West Liberty [University] is very helpful.”

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Shelby Gibson
Shelby Gibson, Staff Writer
  • Journalism I
  • Senior (They/ Them)
  • Towngate Community Theater, Park Players, National Thespian Society, National Honors Society, Dungeons and Dragons with friends, and GSA
  • "Be the chaos you want to see in the world." --Mollymauk Tealeaf
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