Bob Mohrbacher: ‘FAFSA simplification’ turns out to be more complicated for everyone


Federal changes to the financial aid application are causing big delays for colleges and students.

When the U.S. Department of Education announced it was revamping the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA), educators nationwide cheered. For decades, the FAFSA has been overly complicated, and the new application is much easier and faster for students and families to complete. However, there have been technical and procedural challenges at every stage of the rollout, and colleges nationwide are contending with a six-month delay in information from the Department of Education.

In fact, Centralia College will not be able to access and begin processing student financial aid applications from the Department of Education until June 10 — less than a month before the start of summer classes on July 1. Even if a student completed their FAFSA in January, that data will not transfer to the college’s awarding system until mid-June.

While the delays have impacted our financial aid office’s ability to process applications, there are several things we are doing to assist students. On June 10, we are going all-in on processing financial aid applications. The financial aid office will close to the public from June 10-28 and we’ll be pulling staff from other departments to help process student applications as quickly as possible.

The college is taking additional steps to support students:

• Payment plans with flexibility. We have lowered the enrollment plan fee to $1 and no monthly payments will be required. Tuition won’t be due until Aug. 28.

• Students will be able to charge books from the college bookstore to their student accounts.

• Eligible students can also apply for emergency grants to help with educational expenses, such as transportation or technology.

If you are a student who plans to attend Centralia College this summer, here are a few things you can do to help expedite application processing:

• Register now for summer classes. Current students are already able to register for summer classes. Brand new students can register starting June 17.

• Complete the college’s internal financial aid form. This helps us determine your award eligibility for the quarters you plan to attend.

• If you have not submitted a 2024-25 FAFSA, you need to do it as soon as possible. Even if you’re not planning on coming to Centralia College until fall, get your FAFSA in now.

• Sign up for the payment plan in ctcLink. This ensures you won’t be dropped from classes while waiting for your application to be processed. 

• Stay connected to your online student account and email. If documents are missing or more information is needed, the financial aid team will send alerts to your student email and ctcLink account. Responding to those requests quickly will speed up processing.

Once this initial implementation phase for the new FAFSA is completed, we believe that the new application process will be better for students; the current delays are a one-time impact. The college is committed to supporting our financial aid team through this unprecedented time and providing the best possible care and service to our students as we navigate the FAFSA challenges that lie ahead.

For regular updates on financial aid processing and timeliness, please visit


Bob Mohrbacher is the president of Centralia College.