December 8, 2023

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Diving overview:

  • Eight higher education organizations are asking the U.S. Department of Education to commit to a date by which it will issue the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which is in the process of being revised.
  • FAFSA traditionally starts on October 1st. But groups like the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators wrote the Office of Federal Student Aid last week when they heard it might be delayed, potentially even until the end of the year.
  • The groups are asking the Department of Education to say by May 1 when it will release the FAFSA. They wrote that states, colleges and access organizations “must prepare for significant adjustments to their systems and processes based on the FAFSA release date.”

Diving statistics:

The Department of Education had until Oct. 1 to implement a new, simplified iteration of the FAFSA that will be used to award financial aid for the 2024-25 academic year.

But researchers question whether the ministry can handle the mammoth task of overhauling the financial aid application process in a timely manner. Not only will the Ministry of Education have to release it, but high school and college officials will also have to be trained to navigate it.

In a letter last week, the coalition asked the Department of Education to begin a communication plan to help students, families and schools understand the FAFSA by July 1.

It also requires the Department of Education to release all FAFSA training materials by that date.

“If FAFSA is delayed, it will be critical for FSA to take proactive steps to stop the confusion in this area as much as possible,” the organizations wrote. “We recommend that the FSA provides clear and simple messages to all affected stakeholders, particularly students and families, about what the delay does and does not mean for their financial aid.”

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