Created in 1992 to simplify applying for financial aid, it has become so intimidating — with more than 100 questions — that critics say it scares off the very families most in need, preventing some teenagers from going to college.Then, too, some families have begun paying for professional help with the form, known as the Fafsa, a situation that experts say indicates just how far awry the whole process has gone.
“We’re getting thousands of calls a day,” said Craig V. Carroll, chief executive of Student Financial Aid Services Inc., whose fafsa.com charges $80 to $100 to fill out the form. “Our calls for the month of January are up about 35 percent from last year. There’s been a huge increase in the desperation of families.”
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