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Education Department Hints at Possible Delay of FAFSA

Education Department Hints at Possible Delay of FAFSA

Inside Higher Ed

Katherine Knott
February 8, 2023
The new version of the Free Application of Student Aid might not be ready by Oct. 1, Federal Student Aid officials said Tuesday, though the agency is planning to launch the application in the fourth quarter of this year.
Melanie Storey, deputy director of policy implementation and oversight for the Office of Federal Student Aid, told attendees at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ leadership conference that the agency wouldn’t commit to a launch date this fall, though it is working aggressively toward an Oct. 1 launch. Tuesday’s conference was the first time officials publicly disclosed that the application might not open Oct. 1, as it has since 2016. Legally, the agency has until Jan. 1 to release the application.
The conference was not open to the press, but NASFAA staff shared Storey’s quotes with Inside Higher Ed and published a recap of the panel discussion.
Pushing back the FAFSA’s launch could be “massively disruptive,” NASFAA president Justin Draeger said.
The FAFSA is at the center of the college financial aid system. Students, high school counselors, state aid agencies and colleges and universities, among others, rely on the application, which is key to unlocking billions in federal financial aid for millions of students each year. A delay in the form could mean a delay in getting financial aid offers to students, and it could hamper students’ college searches and affect state aid agencies that have earlier deadlines.
For example, students in Texas need to file the FAFSA by Jan. 15 in order to receive priority consideration for state aid. The deadline in Connecticut is Feb. 15. Many other states have similar deadlines, some of which are set by state statutes.
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