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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


FAFSA rollout is a disgrace

Lee Addante
FAFSA is always a frustrating process for students and parents alike.

The FAFSA rollout has been an absolute disgrace to applicants, parents and colleges alike. They actually rolled it out late this year to ‘fix’ the FAFSA. They most certainly did not ‘fix’ it; they even forgot to calculate inflation correctly and so now they won’t send out applicant’s information until early March.

It wouldn’t be surprising if they don’t meet that deadline, either. The institutions students rely on can’t hold themselves to their own made-up standards, thus making everybody’s jobs harder. In fact, in their press release about pushing back the release of information to early March, they buried it five paragraphs deep behind self-congratulatory nonsense.

So, instead of fixing the FAFSA, the Department of Education just rolled out the same broken mess later thus making the whole process a nightmare for colleges and applicants. They had years and years to fix the FAFSA, and yet the end product is still a rushed disaster which is unfortunately the expectation at this point.

The FAFSA has been an awful, infuriating process since the beginning of their online application. Every single cycle it has problems and downtime that make it unnecessarily stressful for parents and students alike. It’s truly telling when private corporations, such as College Board’s CSS, have systems that work much more efficiently than anything the government has ever put out.

There are thousands of computer engineers that are clearly smarter than the leadership over at the Department of Education that would be able to pinpoint the exact issues with the FAFSA website and fix them quickly. In all likelihood, however, it’s probably not the FAFSA engineers that are the issue. The Department of Education is likely a rotten bureaucratic structure where every issue is someone else’s problem.

There are countless anecdotes online about whatever bug the FAFSA is having that day. I will share mine: When my father was trying to create a FAFSA account, it wouldn’t let him create an account because an error message kept popping up on the page where one puts their mailing address. Everything was imputed correctly; we must’ve tried about five iterations of ‘lane’ before we were confident it wasn’t our fault.

We searched online and, sure enough, someone else was having this exact issue.

Millions of Americans have to rely on the government to do an effective job and this is clearly not a given. The FAFSA roll-out has been a monumental failure on the part of the Department of Education but it’s like this every single year.

But why should the federal government care? It’s only our money.

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