- The 2023-24 FAFSA is delayed until December due to the FAFSA Simplification Act, passed in 2022.
- One of the major changes includes an expansion in Pell Grant eligibility.
- FAMU says students should still apply as soon as possible once the application opens.
Lines at financial aid offices are typically out the door in October, but not this year. If you're a college student or parent, October is usually the month where it's time to think about how to pay for the next year of school. But that is not the case this year, and I wanted to hear from students how that affects them directly.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, usually opens in October. But due to some major changes, that's been delayed until December. The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed in 2022. One of it's changes is an expansion of Pell Grant eligibility. Grants are not loans and do not have to be repaid after graduation. FAMU student James Shirley says having less debt is obviously welcome.
"The postgrad stress is real, and increasing the eligibility or expanding it kind of relieves some of that stress."
But what does the later opening date mean for students? December is a time when final exams and projects are piling up and stress is peaking. James says adding the FAFSA to that may be too much for self-sufficient students to juggle.
"It affects the time management right because some people who need the loans also have to work part-time just to even get the money they need for classes and transportation."
According to StudentAid.gov, most people take less than an hour to fill out the form online.
There is no set date the FAFSA will open. If it's early December, it could take some students' attention away from studying for finals.
"I would never tell students to take time away from their studies."
That's FAMU's VP of Student Affairs Dr. William Hudson Jr. He says despite the delayed application, FAMU will stay on schedule for awarding aid and disbursing. He also advises students to complete their FAFSA as soon as possible, even if it's during the holidays.
"We always stress to students to try to complete it by January 1st, because most financial aid is on a first-come, first-serve basis."
This change will only be in effect during the current cycle. The FAFSA is planned to open in October again beginning in 2024.