FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Allie Arcese
Director of Communications, NASFAA
WASHINGTON, D.C, NOVEMBER 15, 2023 — The Department of Education today announced that the newly overhauled 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, will be open to students and families by December 31, 2023, nearly three months later than usual, and following a previous one-year delay in implementation. While this delay is unfortunate, schools have had time to plan for it, since the Department announced this delay last February.
Unexpectedly, institutions are just learning today that the delivery of applicant information from the FAFSA will be delayed, possibly until the end of January, slowing the delivery of financial aid offers to some students even further, and making this already difficult enrollment year even more fraught with challenges.
"We are pleased to see the Department fulfill its commitment to deliver a FAFSA by January 1 and excited for the promise this new, streamlined application will bring to millions of students and families.
However, while it’s true that ED may have met the letter of the law by opening the FAFSA by December 31, any significant delays in delivering applicant data to schools would fall short of the spirit of the law, leaving the most vulnerable student populations in limbo as they wait for the financial aid information they need to make vital college-going decisions. We urge our federal partners to do all they can to provide applicant data to institutions as quickly as possible, and to clearly communicate with schools as soon as updates are available.
Every day matters, and financial aid offices cannot begin reviewing financial aid applications, modeling student eligibility, and ultimately packaging and communicating financial aid offers until applicant data is provided to them by the U.S. Department of Education. Once financial aid offices receive that information, distributing financial aid offers will likely take at least several more weeks.
And this is before taking into account the time aid administrators will spend examining the many special circumstances students face, from those who require personalized counseling, financial aid appeals, FAFSA corrections, professional judgments and considerations, or serving other populations that need one-on-one assistance.
A successful partnership between the financial aid community and ED means goodwill is extended by all stakeholders. Financial aid professionals will work to shield students from the adverse effects of any truncated timelines. In addition to working as quickly as possible to deliver a completed FAFSA process, the Department can partner in this effort by giving students realistic timelines and top-notch customer service, and giving schools the space and resources they need to focus solely on students for the next several months.
This partnership will be essential as financial aid offices scramble to process and package aid offers, review financial aid appeals, and counsel students in the months ahead. NASFAA is asking the Department of Education to support students, financial aid offices, and other stakeholders in the following ways:
To the millions of students and families about to embark on this journey, know that financial aid professionals at colleges and universities across the country are dedicated to putting in the hours to get you the information you need to make the decision that is right for you."
NASFAA policy experts are available to speak to members of the media about today’s announcement. To set up an interview, please email NASFAA Director of Communications Allie Arcese or call (202) 785-6954.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 29,000 financial aid professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators.
Publication Date: 11/15/2023