A New FAFSA Setback Means Many College Financial Aid Offers Won't Come Until April

"Families and students will have to wait even longer for financial aid offers from colleges and universities," NPR reports.

..."When that fix was announced, Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), said it was "the right thing to do."

Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal said in a statement Tuesday, 'Updating our calculations will help students qualify for as much financial aid as possible. Thank you to the financial aid advisers, college counselors, and many others helping us put students first.'

Kvaal and the department know this delay will hit college financial aid offices especially hard and further compress their timeline for sending out financial aid offers. Draeger tells NPR that if schools don't receive FAFSA data until early to mid-March, many of them likely won't be able to send financial aid offers to students until April. For many of those students, that leaves less than a month before they're expected to commit to a college.

...The problem for schools — which, by extension, is now a problem for families too — is that, because this year's FAFSA is the result of a massive overhaul, financial aid offices aren't entirely sure what to expect from the data they'll be receiving. Ideally, they'd like several weeks to understand the new datasets and do some quality control of the new financial aid process.

'Schools are furiously reworking their timelines to see just how quickly they could turn around financial aid offers for students, to get them accurate aid offers as soon as possible,' says Draeger of NASFAA. But he points out, 'This could be more difficult for under-resourced institutions that lack the funding, staffing, or technology capabilities of their peers.'

This new setback gives schools very little room for error."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 1/31/2024

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