Last month’s news on the delayed transfer of student financial aid information until mid-March sent ripples through the college planning landscape. The FAFSA form, which traditionally is made available to families of high school seniors on October 1st was subject to a delayed rollout due to a makeover to the form this year, opening on December 31st. The new form was subject to immediate delays and issues, which has led to this new lag time until March for submissions so far.
The impact for college applicants:
- Shortened decision window – High school seniors have until May 1st to make their decision for where they’ll attend this upcoming year. With schools not receiving the student’s financial aid info until March, this means that students may not receive their financial aid award offers until a few weeks before the deadline to make their decision
- Harmful to students pursuing need based financial aid – It is the low-income families that will be hit hardest by this delay. They will be the one’s put on hold and forced to make these crucial decisions in a tighter window
- Leg up for students pursuing merit based financial aid – While students pursuing financial aid based on financial need will need to wait for their aid package, students that won’t qualify for financial aid may already have their scholarship info in hand. They can use the next few months with their clear picture in mind to stack up the financials at the schools on their list
Next steps for students:
- Control what you can control – For students who will be forced into delayed decision circumstances, the best advice is to take a deep breath. They are not alone in their situation, and what they can focus on in the meantime is applying for school based and local private scholarships to help minimize the cost of an education once they receive their financial aid packages back
Have questions about strategizing for your child following the FAFSA transfer delay? Click here to find a time to chat.
All the best,
Andrew Holmes, Certified College Planning Specialist™