The University of Maryland received some Free Application for Federal Student Aid records from the U.S. Department of Education on Monday after months of delays due to a new FAFSA application that created stress for many prospective students.

The Department of Education released the first batch of data from FAFSA to a few dozen universities starting on Sunday, The Washington Post reported.

The Department of Education revamped the decades-old FAFSA application and released a more accessible application form in December. Federal data from the form will help universities assemble financial aid packages for current and prospective students.

The new form, which debuted two months after its usual release in October, cut the number of questions by more than half and uses a new formula that will allow financial aid eligibility for more low-income students, The Washington Post reported.

However, glitches in the new version of FAFSA have made it difficult for many students and families to complete the application. Prospective low-income students will be at the biggest disadvantage because of the shorter amount of time to make a decision about college, The Washington Post reported.

“Because of the confusion surrounding the form and because of the delay, a lot of people aren’t going to know whether or not they have financial assistance,” this university’s diversity and inclusion vice president Georgina Dodge said.

[USM moves admissions decision day to May 15 due to FAFSA delays]

Some prospective students who are conflicted between getting a job or attending college might not even consider college because of FAFSA delays, she explained.

The University System of Maryland announced in February that it would push its admissions decision deadline to at least May 15. Normally, this deadline is May 1. This change will give prospective students more than two extra weeks to accommodate for the setback. The university also extended its FAFSA filing priority deadline to April 1.

“We know that this delay may have a disproportionate effect on students whose college attendance is dependent upon receiving significant financial aid,” this university’s financial aid office wrote in a statement to The Diamondback.

Despite this year’s different timeline, the office will still have institutional financial aid funds available to support students in addition to federal and state funds, the statement said.

FAFSA submissions among high school seniors were down about 57 percent compared to last year’s seniors, according to a February National College Attainment Network report. At the end of January, the national FAFSA submission rate was only 16 percent, the report stated.

Daniel Chernyak, a senior who attends Richard Montgomery High School in Montgomery County, said he will not make a decision on which college to attend until he receives his financial aid data from all of the universities he applied to.

“The decision for college for a lot of low income students is almost entirely based on where you get in and how much money they give you,” Chernyak said. “I will rely on need-based aid and financial aid for actually making my college decision, and I know that’s the case for a lot of low income communities.”

Chernyak expressed frustration with the Department of Education because it released the FAFSA form before it seemed to be ready.

Susie Amaechina, a senior who attends Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Prince George’s County, said she will also depend on FAFSA to make a decision about which college she will attend. Navigating the FAFSA delays has been stressful for Amaechina because she is still unsure how she will afford college, she said.

Amaechina, who comes from a low-income household, said although her mother has some money saved up, it will not be enough to get her through four years of college.

“I really need FAFSA,” Amaechina said. “FAFSA is really going to reduce the cost, because I don’t know how I’m gonna pay for school.”

Some high schools — like Charles Herbert Flowers High School — have hosted workshops to help families understand the FAFSA process, according to Frederick Groves, the school’s college and career coordinator and professional school counselor.

[Maryland bill would guarantee admission to state universities for top students]

“Anytime there’s a transition or something new, our student population that lives on the poverty level, below the poverty level, are impacted by less resources,” he said. “With less resources and access … they’re more than likely to quit and not complete their financial package.”

The delays emphasized to Groves how much students rely on FAFSA to make their college decisions, he said. Although the delay might not hinder students in the long-run, it can cause anxiety for students who do not know where they will commit to college, he explained.

Some current students at this university, such as junior public policy major Sarah Suleman, empathized with students waiting to hear about their financial aid offers.

Suleman said her financial aid package was the main reason she decided to attend this university. Her brother had an error within his FAFSA application that is causing stress this year because the error cannot be fixed until the form is processed, she said.

“I understand they tried to make FAFSA easier, but just because of all the bugs and the issues, it’s been a little bit difficult,” Suleman said. “It can take a big toll on your mental health, especially if financial aid is the reason you are continuing your education.”