FAFSA pushed back its launching date

In the past, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has always launched on Oct. 1. But this year, FAFSA has pushed back the launch dates until an unknown date in December.

According to Forbes, the delay results from a significant overhaul of the federal form used to apply for the aid. More students are expected to become eligible for financial aid via FAFSA. 

Associate Director of Financial Aid Rachel Sherlock says the changes are among the most significant ever for FAFSA since it was first created.

“Students are going to notice a slight difference when filling it out,” said Sherlock. “It changed how financial aid is calculated. It’s a much easier process for students now, and they should notice significantly fewer questions on the FAFSA.”

The process of calculating the eligibility was also changed.

“In the past, the FAFSA used to give a number called the expected family contribution,” said Sherlock. “That’s how financial aid needs to be calculated. Now, they’re using a number called the Student Aid Index. And that’s what we can use to help determine students’ financial aid eligibility.”

Sherlock says the overall change in the process is positive. 

“For continuing students, it really shouldn’t have too much of an impact,” said Sherlock. “A lot of times for continuing students, if they go home over winter break, that would be a great time to sit down with mom and dad, fill out the FAFSA together, and get that submitted. That way, they’ll still get their FAFSA in early and be reviewed for the most possible need-based aid.”

Students on Pell Grants can expect changes in how their grant is calculated using the Student Aid Index. Sherlock says that although each case will differ, the expectation is that more students are going to be eligible for the Pell Grant for the upcoming year.

Over the summer, the Financial Aid Office did training to learn about changes to the process. The office will provide training for high school counselors in the area so that both counselors and families have a better understanding of how to fill out the updated form.

“I expect my advisors are going to have more advising appointments so that way we can help our local students through the FAFSA,” said Sherlock. 

Students can receive help and get their questions answered at Campus Hub or by making an advising appointment with the Financial Aid Office. 

“We do one-on-one advising appointments,” said Sherlock. “We can do Zoom appointments, where people share their screen and we can help them walk through the application.”

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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