Feb 5, 2024 - News

FAFSA delays causing financial aid headaches for Minnesota college students

A student in a gray long-sleeved shirt and sneakers walks across a college campus with a red-brown brick building and columns in the background.

The University of Minnesota campus. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The University of Minnesota is "assessing" its current admission deadlines amid delays in the process for awarding federal financial aid to current or prospective college students.

The big picture: The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that colleges won't receive information from students' FAFSA applications until early March, reports Axios' Sareen Habeshian.

  • That's more than a month later than officials had previously said.

Why it matters: Colleges can't determine students' financial aid packages until they receive the data. That means incoming freshmen may have to scramble to meet a May 1 deadline to commit to attending a school.

What they're saying: "Without FAFSA, a lot of people aren't able to go to school or afford going to school," U of M grad student Sam Adeniyi told KSTP.

Zoom in: In a statement to KARE 11, a U of M official was noncommittal about changing the May 1 timetable, but acknowledged the stress the delays were causing.

  • A Minnesota State system spokesperson told KSTP the delay "isn't expected to affect any financial aid awards."
  • Macalester College requires all applicants to submit a different financial history form, so an official told the Star Tribune the college has been able to send many aid offers "on the normal timeline."

Of note: The federal education agency says all these delays stem from changes that make the FAFSA form much easier for students to fill out.

  • The new application is half as long as the old, 103-question form. Now, some students may only need to answer as few as 18 questions.
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