FAFSA delay halts financial award processing to Mid-March

FAFSA delay halts financial award processing to Mid-March

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) used for the 2024-2025 academic year has been delayed, expected to be received by colleges and universities in Mid-March. Typically, the FAFSA is received by colleges and universities in December, the year prior to that academic year.

The 2024-2025 academic year is the first year in which the FAFSA Simplification Act will be instituted since it passed in 2020. 

The FAFSA Simplification Act intends to make the FAFSA easier to fill out. The number of questions used on the form has been reduced from 108 to 36. 

“The whole point is that it’ll be easier by reducing the number of questions and it will be less of a burden,” Director of Financial Aid Michael Rotundo said.

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This delay will be felt differently by current and prospective students. For current students there is expected to be little change in their financial aid awarding process, Rotundo said. Awards for continuing students should still be received by the students in June as they typically are.

“The process right now should not hold back our awarding cycle for continuing students because we always wait until after the end of the winter semester,” Rotundo said. “So at this point that process should be consistent with what we’ve always done.”

For incoming students however, this delay could impact whether or not they choose to attend NMU or another college or university. 

“For our incoming students, we typically start awarding them as early as the end of December, so we’re well off our normal awarding cycle and we’re still waiting for the FAFSAs,” Rotundo said. “So once those FAFSAs get here, we will start processing their eligibility and that will take some time.”

For these prospective students, the university is offering full refunds if they have applied for on-campus housing and back out by May 1 as well as allowing students to defer payments for summer orientation until May 1. Additionally, the financial aid staff said they are diligently preparing to receive the FAFSA by their office.  

“We are working hard to set up our processes so that when the FAFSA arrives, we are ready to roll because there will definitely be an importance for us to get out financial aid notifications to prospective students,” Rotundo said. “So [we are] making sure that we have all of our infrastructure in place to allow us to be as efficient as possible in turning around those financial aid notices to our prospective students.” 

The Financial Aid office hosted two FAFSA assistance days during February helping students in filling out their financial aid application. Students who missed these assistance days and are looking for help filling out their FAFSA should contact the office to schedule a meeting with a financial aid counselor, Rotundo added.

For both prospective and current students, Rotundo recommends filling out the FAFSA as soon as possible.

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