Thursday, December 09, 2021

Paper Doesn't Reset

Currently having the joy of doing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA application for Abby for next year.

Back when I did it, it was paper.  Now it's online, for efficiency, of course, and as one expects, since it is created and managed by the bureaucracy, it's screwed up. 

It has already crashed twice now this morning.

From the beginning its rather slow, with having to hit continue multiple times to change and advance pages and often the continue button spins and when its done you're stuck sitting on the same page again and have to hit Continue yet again and by the third or fourth try it works.

First crash had a funny message that "Based on the information you provided we can't process your form" - this with less than a pittance of the form filled out and we hadn't even gotten to any good parts yet.

And it sent me back to the start page to reenter all the info.  So far had only put in the very basic biographical information -names, address, dob, SSN and drivers license number but it was a pain to do it all yet again. No way to save it as you go, nor any warnings that it wouldn't work again.

And it crashed yet again. this time at least with a friendly message that "The FAFSA form is currently unavailable. We are working to resolve this problem as quickly as possible."  and yep,, booted me back to the start screen of the FAFSA, which has no notice that it is down and you can have the joys of getting to try and start over hoping it might be working again.

Paper while slower to process at least didn't crash while you were trying to fill it out.

If you're going to require using an online system to do something, at least make it efficient and actually work.


Matthew W said...

Did that last year for my daughter.
I am not a stupid person and I am pretty good at filling out online forms and the such.
I am convinced that the person/people that designed the FASA system fucked it up on purpose. That kind of screw-up can't be accidental.

Aaron said...

Matthew W: Yep, everyone I've talked to has complained about how messed-up and time-consuming the online FAFSA application. How hard can it be to just replicate the paper app and send the answers to a damn database? I suspect you're right about their making it so annoying on purpose - either that or the good idea fairy got a hold of their designer - its really that bad a design.