"The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid has always had big responsibilities relative to its size. Its primary job is overseeing the federal government’s student loan portfolio, a feat it accomplishes with less than one-third of the Education Department’s staff. In fiscal years 2022 and 2023, it cost the government $2 billion per year to run the office," Higher Education Dive reports.
..."Karen McCarthy, vice president of public policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said it’s not fully clear yet how the delay will affect enrollment. College administrators are just beginning to have conversations about if and how to condense their processes and timelines, and they need an exact launch day to be able to make firm decisions, she said.
Institutions have gradually been shifting their timelines earlier with encouragement from the Education Department, she said. That way, students who apply through early admissions cycles can get their offers with their acceptance notices and have more time to evaluate their finances.
'Now with this delay until December, that does throw a wrench in the works at a lot of institutions,' McCarthy said. 'At some institutions it has really caused them to revisit their entire admissions timeline' for the 2024-25 cycle.
The delay stands to affect even colleges that typically send out aid packages later in the cycle, McCarthy said, because they still need to do software testing and other processes.
'Once the FAFSA becomes available, that is really when the whole process starts,' she said. 'Many institutions will have a shift of several months, even if they were not sending their aid offers out in November and December.'"
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Publication Date: 4/20/2023