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High school seniors wait on FAFSA awards, even on their decision day

decision day ruskin high school.png
Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 26, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Friday was decision day at Ruskin High School, but some seniors who plan to go to college are still waiting for information on their FAFSA awards.

Decision day is an annual event at the high school held at the end of each spring semester.

It gives other students, teachers and staff a chance to celebrate with seniors on their post-graduation decisions, whether it’s college, trade school or the workforce.

But this year’s decision day falls during a time when nationwide financial aid delays have resulted in anxiety and uncertainty for students deciding if they’re going to be able to go to college.

It’s anxiety Angel Akinleye and Margarita Macias expressed when we first met them in early April.

“I was getting really discouraged," Akinelye said. "I was like, ugh, I’m going to have to take out a loan, I’m going to have to work a lot just to pay off the loan."

She received her financial aid and so has her classmate, Camille Long.

“When I finally got my aid, it released everything," Long said. "I was just happy. I was just glad that I got it. I didn’t have to wait any longer. I still would have gone [to college], it probably just would have been much more stressful, and in the long run, I would have had to work really, really hard to pay off whatever I had to pay off.”

And though their class was together celebrating, not everyone got the news they wanted.

“I’m in this sort of like waiting game where I’m waiting to hear from them,” Macias said. “Checking my mailbox, checking my email, checking the actual FAFSA website.”

Macias still doesn’t have her FAFSA money, unlike some of her classmates. But she’s not alone, even when it seems that way.

“Everybody’s getting their letters, everybody’s knowing kind of where they’re at, and making their final decisions,” Macias said.

She says her school of choice, Avila University, knows her financial situation and that helps with the stress.

Her friends learned having award money doesn’t ease all anxiety.

“It’s exciting, but it’s also really scary because there’s no rule book on how to live life,” Akinleye said.

Macias says she still wanted to celebrate on decision day because of what it’s taken to get there, but she’s also grateful for the lessons she’s learned along the way.

“I don’t know, I feel like the whole process made me a little stronger,” Macias said. “It’s not always going to be perfect and I have to be prepared for the worst or if it doesn’t go my way.”