April 10, 2023

FAFSA Timeline Delayed for 2023: What to Know

New FAFSA Delayed for 2023: What to Know

The Department of Education announced this month that the release of this year’s Free Application for Federal Student aid—better known as the FAFSA—has been delayed. This will impact the high school Class of 2024 and current college students.

While this announcement might confuse many who are applying to college for the first time, we want to let families know not to worry. Class 101 has the answers to your biggest questions.

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is a centralized form that has been around for decades designed to help students easily seek financial aid from the state and federal government. It provides a consistent process to assess eligibility.

The FAFSA is required  at all colleges and universities to be considered for any need-based financial aid such as grants, work-study, and student loans. We recommend that families file the FAFSA even if they don’t think they have much chance of qualifying for need based aid. Institutions often require or request the FAFSA for merit awards, and scholarship programs often request it as well. The FAFSA for the 2024-2025 school year will use 2022 tax year information.

Why is the FAFSA delayed?

In 2020, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to reduce the FAFSA’s length and complexity. The law expanded the number of students who could qualify for the maximum award each year by 1.7 million and made 555,000 students newly available for aid. It also called the Department of Education to streamline and reduce the number of aid application questions.

As the Department of Education noted in its announcement to higher education professionals released on March 21, implementing this law required “ the most ambitious and significant redesign of the federal student aid application and delivery in decades.” Rather than rush the process, officials decided to take a “one-time schedule shift” to update their tools, conduct outreach, expand language offerings, address feedback, and simplify the form’s questions.

When will the new FAFSA be released?

In the past, FAFSA was released October 1; however, the Department of Education announced the 2024-2025 FAFSA would be released in December 2023. It is not clear what day in December the new form will be released, but the Department of Education promised to release the FAFSA as soon as possible and provide updates if there were any further changes in timing.

For the time being, families interested in knowing more about the schedule can look at a  roadmap provided by the Department of Education. The document outlines a more granular schedule on how the Department will go about assembling the different components of the updated FAFSA.

How does this affect me?

Eight national organizations representing college counselors, state administrators, admissions officials, financial aid administrators, registrars, scholarship providers, and others expressed support for a revamped FAFSA but expressed concern that “a delayed release date could compound that confusion and result in a decline in applicants for federal student aid.” The delayed launch of the FAFSA is likely to affect college application timelines, many of which include required or requested dates to submit the federal form for merit and need based support.

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We understand that the financial aid process can be confusing or stressful for many families. However, for now most of the work is in the hands of the Department of Education and administrators. We hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and we encourage you to keep following our blog for updates, stay tuned for our Class 101 FAFSA webinar later this fall, or sign up for a meeting with a Class 101 college advisor to learn more.

While changes in the college process can happen at any time, we stay on top of it so you don’t have to. Don’t worry parents, we got you!

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