The U.S. Department of Education has announced that FAFSA information for students will be delayed in submission to schools until at least March.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for millions of college students across the U.S. is on pause due to an application delay. The pause, and therefore withholding of students’ financial offers, is expected to go on until March.
The Secretary of Education, James Kvaal, released a statement on the updated measure, stating that the decision will allow more aid to be given out concerning student needs.
“The Better FAFSA makes it as simple and easy as possible for families to get help paying for college, and updating our tables will help even more students get the help they need,” said Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “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.”
While the change strives to ensure the maximum allotment is bestowed, those relying on the information to see their financial accessibility to schools will be waiting on their offers until at least early March. This news is especially significant for those attending HBCUs, as students at these colleges and universities, whose populations are predominately Black, have higher federal grant amounts on average than students at other schools.
According to NBC News, the delay stems from a “bumpy rollout” of the currently issued form, such as the update mistakenly being left out of the new application. Correcting the issue left students unable to begin the application until right before the new year, as opposed to its regular October opening. This gap in communication and oversight will only jeopardize the academic futures of students who need the funding most, an issue emphasized by the President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Justin Draeger.
“These continued delays, communicated at the last minute, threaten to harm the very students and families that federal student aid is intended to help,” expressed Draeger, as reported by the outlet. “With this last-minute news, our nation’s colleges are once again left scrambling as they determine how best to work within these new timelines to issue aid offers as soon as possible.”
Source: Black Enterprise