FAFSA glitches, delays leave families uncertain about college

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The FAFSA, also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, has some Tennessee students worried about their collegiate future.

The Department of Education released this year’s application in December instead of the usual time of October. It was a rollout that many college admissions counselors said was rushed and not property planned.

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“There was a certain amount of hours a day the application was available and other issues applicants were dealing with,” said Kelly Pietkiewicz with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Pietkiewicz has spent years helping students get to college. She currently has students worried that, due to FAFSA’s backlog of applications, they won’t have the money to go to school.

Another issue Pietkiewicz expressed was undocumented parents filling out the FAFSA for their documented child. Some parents also do not have email addresses and other requirements for the application.

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Locally, many colleges and universities in Middle Tennessee are adjusting to help students with the FAFSA. Belmont University has moved their deadline for new student enrollment to June 1.

Middle Tennessee State University is encouraging students to fill out their FAFSA application as soon as possible. They report 73% of their students are on some sort of financial aid.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has extended their deadline for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship program to May 31.

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If you need assistance with the FAFSA, the THEC advises you to reach out to your college advisor or high school counselor. You should also contact THEC/TSAC FAFSA hotline at 1-800-342-1663.

Belmont University also provides FAFSA help. Click here for the website.

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