The delayed release of the 2024-25 FAFSA is having a ripple effect for colleges and students. The Department of Education announced this week that colleges will not begin receiving FAFSA data until March this year, creating a potential time crunch for students making enrollment decisions. Here’s what Moira Valenti, a senior education and career counselor at Granite Edvance, has to say about the delay.
Why are schools receiving FAFSA data late this year?
The Department of Education has recently revised the data tables in the Student Aid Index (SAI) and is now updating the processing systems used by colleges to access this information. This update to the formula accounts for inflationary adjustments which are required under the law.
What does the delay mean for students?
Updating these tables will have a significant impact for two reasons.
The good news: Now that the SAI calculation is properly adjusted to reflect inflation, we anticipate that 1.8 billion (additional) dollars in federal need-based financial aid will be available to students this year.
The bad news: Changing the SAI formula at this late date means that colleges will not begin receiving FAFSA information until March, while the processing system is being updated. This means that financial aid offices will not have the information they need to make financial aid offers to students until at least mid-March. The late release of financial aid offers will give families a much shorter window in which to make a decision about which college to attend. The traditional commitment deadline is May 1st.
What can students and families do in light of the delay?
- Take this time to make sure that you have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s in your college applications and in submitting your FAFSA.
- Sign up for updates from studentaid.gov and regularly check your student portal on college websites.
- Keep visiting campuses. This way when you receive financial aid packages from colleges, likely in April, you will have already visited campuses and know which are good academic and personal fits, and can make your final decision by May 1.
- Call us with questions– We will get through this together!