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GVSU offers reassurance amid FAFSA delays

GVSU Student
GVSU Student

Updates to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) have led to a series of delays and issues for students.

The U.S. Department of Education revamped its Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  in late December, hoping to streamline the process for users. However, changes to its website have been marred with technical issues and delays.

“Originally they [Dept. of Education] told us, it would be ready in December, and then as we approached it was going to be ready on December 31” Michelle Rhodes, Vice President of Financial Aid at Grand Valley State University said. “Now it’s only open for certain periods of time where students and families can complete it.”

More than 17 million students file for federal student aid dollars to help cover the cost of college. For many, aid packages may determine which school they attend or if they can afford to enroll at all. Colleges and Universities also rely on FAFSA, using information from it to award students federal, state and institutional aid. As students and families scramble to submit their FAFSA ahead of 2024-25 academic deadlines, Rhodes explains schools are playing a waiting game.

“They’re [Dept. of Education] not going to release any of the data to schools until late January or sometime in early February. Ultimately what it means for schools is that we will not be able to get financial aid award offers to students or families probably as timely as we would hope,” she said.

While Rhodes acknowledges the challenges in getting a new FAFSA system off the ground, she told WGVU she believes the changes will create an easier filing process for students and families in the long run. As for now, Rhodes wants to assure GVSU prospects that they won’t be left behind.

“We have a March 1 deadline…mostly because we want to make sure the students and families have enough time,” Rhodes said. “At Grand Valley we always accept things after the deadline, so that’s our constant message. File it whenever you feel that you can and as soon as possible.”

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