NASFAA last week joined several higher education organizations in a letter calling on Federal Student Aid (FSA) to urgently consider what steps need to be taken to ensure that a FAFSA applicant is able to complete the 2024-25 form with ease.
The letter comes on the heels of FSA’s announcement that the 2024-25 FAFSA will go live by December 31, 2023, but that the department will not begin processing FAFSA forms submitted online until January 2024. Further, institutions will begin receiving Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) by the end of January 2024.
The letter recognizes the hard work FSA has done to begin to implement, and to communicate its FAFSA roadmap with stakeholders, but went on to underscore concerns over how the shortened timeline for the application will impact families and students. Signatories urged the department to provide greater clarity about how the changes being enacted will impact the aid processes that follow an applicant completing the form.
“The more information that can be shared regarding the implementation and timeline of the new FAFSA and associated processing systems, the more prepared the higher education community can be to ensure the best experience for students enrolling in and persisting through postsecondary education,” the letter reads.
Specifically, the letter calls on FSA to fully engage the higher education community and to work directly with experts in the field to identify any possible problem areas in the application process, and to develop approaches that would minimize any negative impacts on students, institutions, and states.
“We ask that ED’s communications to applicants clearly explain that while their applications have been received, they have not been processed by the Department of Education; what that means in terms of their institutions’ ability to determine their eligibility; and any recommended steps students might take to work with their institutions,” the letter reads.
The letter also requested that FSA explore how they can reduce burdens for institutions that would allow schools to focus their efforts on processing FAFSAs and packaging students under these truncated time frames.
Publication Date: 11/21/2023