Delays and glitches with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application have left thousands of students waiting for financial aid offers from their universities, including our very own University of Arizona Wildcats.

The delays tangled up the 2024-2025 school years financial aid process for many.

Students usually get their financial aid offers by this time of the year, but theyre going to be waiting a bit longer.

One student, Reyna Smith is a UA junior on a full-ride scholarship majoring in bioinformatics.

Smith has seen the delays’ effects first-hand, saying her first-year friends are stressed over the possibility of taking out loans.

This money is the only reason I came here, the only reason I could afford to be here and many of my friends would say the same,” Smith said. “They all rely on financial aid, scholarships, loans. But, especially the financial aid part.

UA Vice President of Enrollment Management Kasey Urquidez said the school can’t offer students offer anything until they receive financial aid data from applicants.

That’s expected by the middle of the month, after already being delayed for six weeks in late January.

Hopefully early April students will know their full merit package, as well as the financial side of things if they have a need for finances,” said Urquidez.

Julie Sainz, Director of FAFSA and College Access Initiatives for Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) tells KGUN only 18.2% of Arizona high school seniors have submitted a FAFSA application as of February 23, 2024.

Thats only a little more than 18,000 submissions.

The new FAFSA application is designed to prevent glitches and technical issues that have caused some students to leave their forms unfinished.

A lot of that is our students from mixed family status,” Sainz said. “So, if the student has a social security number but maybe their parent doesnt, theyre unable to successfully complete their FAFSA form. The U.S. Department of Education has mentioned a fix will be available in mid-March.

ABOR offers the Arizona Promise Program which is designed to help in-state students pay for school tuition and fees if they meet eligibility.

New changes to financial aid applications allow more families to meet eligibility for the FAFSA.

Applications for aid are still open. Both the UA and ABOR urge people to not miss out on applying if they meet qualifications.

Families and students can find a one-stop shop for FAFSA updates here, provided by ABOR, and if you need assistance navigating through the application process, ABOR can help.