Watch CBS News

Colorado students applying for college financial aid say they are facing challenges of glitches and delays

New financial aid program designed to be easier for applicants is anything but
New financial aid program designed to be easier for applicants is anything but 02:33

Families and future college students across the country are frustrated as they try to apply for federal financial aid. 

The updates to the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid were supposed to be easier for families, but that has not been the case.  

As deadlines to commit to their desired schools are approaching, the Denver Scholarship Foundation is hosting workshops to help students apply for both FAFSA and CASFA. 

It's affecting all students, but especially students like first-generation college applicant, Aylin Garza-Saucedo, who hopes to attend her dream school, the University of Denver, this fall. 


"I've gone on a few campus visits, and I really like the environment there," said Garza-Saucedo. 

She is still trying to figure out what she will study there. 

"I want to study either business, law, or theatre," said Garza-Saucedo. 

Born to immigrant parents, Garza-Saucedo says she can't make this a reality without any state or federal aid.

"Only my dad works and we barely have enough for ourselves... it would be difficult to pay for college," she said. 


She's hopeful, but she's not sure how much help she will receive to attend her dream university. 

During a financial aid workshop at Abraham Lincoln High School put on by the Denver Scholarship Foundation, dozens of other students shared similar concerns. 

Joselyn Loya-Acosta, a DSF college advisor at Abraham Lincoln High School says it has been both busy and frustrating dealing with the changes on these applications. 

"We are working with students on the applications and we get errors, the system being down, sometimes parents have to call FAFSA to get their identity verified and we can't get a hold of them," said Loya-Acosta.


Not only has she been helping parents and students with FAFSA and CASFA applications, but she has also helped students apply for scholarships. 

The Denver Scholarship Foundation awards students across the city every year. 

"It's a little bit of a waiting game, with this delay there is a lot of uncertainty, we are kind of in limbo and waiting for those decisions and packages to come in," said Loya-Acosta. 

This week the Office of Federal Student Aid also announced a workaround for immigrant families who have been affected by the glitches. Parents without social security have been unable to add their financial information and complete the form. 


It's a temporary solution for those parents, however, Natasha Garfield, director of scholarships at the Denver Scholarship Foundation says it isn't reliable. 

"It is not a solution because parents' signatures are a required part of the FAFSA process and parents without socials aren't able to do that signature right now," said Garfield. 

The Denver Scholarship Foundation says this is a major issue it came across at its workshops, dealing with a lot of students in underserved communities who depend on this aid for their higher education goals. 


"We've had mixed success trying to use that workaround, what we've seen is in some cases it works, but in other cases students are still getting an error," said Garfield. 

The hope is this will be fixed by the middle of March, but a lot of uncertainty still remains. Students usually receive their financial aid packages around this time of year, but this has not been the case. 

Most universities and colleges require a student admission decision by May 1.

With that deadline quickly approaching, Garza-Saucedo, a first-generation student remains positive. She hopes to go to college so she can make her parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico a couple of decades ago, proud. 

"In a way their dreams are coming true through me," said Garza-Saucedo. 


Some universities and colleges, including MSU Denver, are pushing back its deadlines.

For more on future workshops you can find that information here

Changes to the 2024-34 FAFSA form that launched on Dec. 31, 2023 expands eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants and was supposed to provide a streamlined user experience. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.