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Miami Southridge grads heading to college despite FAFSA issues

Miami Southridge grads heading to college despite FAFSA issues
Miami Southridge grads heading to college despite FAFSA issues 02:11

MIAMI - Laqueendra Douglas is graduating with all the honors hardware as she graduates from Miami Southridge High School.

She is headed to Boston College, her dream school, but she needed financial aid to go there. 

When she and her mom applied for it through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, she hit some hurdles and hitting the submit button didn't work. 

"It was frustrating it was very scary," Laqueendra's mother Arnitryce Jones said. "I had to start over and over and over again and she helped me."

She was one of many students who had to cope with a botched rollout of a new version of FAFSA. At one point, Laqueendra wasn't sure if she'd have to pick a school before knowing how much money she'd get. 

"We ran into the sites running down momentarily," Laqueendra said. "And you know having to find the right time to get it together." 

Miami-Dade Schools partnered with Miami-Dade College to hold more than 50 informative sessions on FAFSA issues. 

"This was delayed across the board," said Vanessa Armand Jackson of Miami-Dade Schools. Jackson helped set up these seminars. She says hundreds of students were helped, and some of them walked out of a session with their aid set up. 

"It's usually the primary factor that many students and families have to consider in order to make that final decision," Jackson said.

Douglas luckily didn't need federal funding in the end. She later found out that she got a full academic scholarship to Boston College. She's thankful while thinking about her fellow classmates who don't have her peace of mind. 

""I'm very empathetic towards the people who probably still haven't gotten that figured out," Douglas said. "But super understanding because I know how hard it can be." 

Miami-Dade Schools had financial aid sessions throughout this past week. They'll be scheduling more of them in the summer, hoping to help students who still haven't received their aid.

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