Due to Dept. of Education delays in processing financial aid applications this year, Utah State University's Office of Student Financial Support is taking several steps to help students and their families.
A large reason for the most recent delay is to fix errors in eligibility formulas and the ability for students to submit a complete FAFSA. The software and regulatory updates needed to fix the issue mean the Dept. of Education will be delayed in sending students' FAFSA information to universities. This new delay ultimately means students won't be missing out on funds meant for them.
"Large adjustments like this provide some initial bumps in the road that we will navigate together, but will ultimately streamline access to federal student aid," wrote Craig Whyte, assistant vice president and executive director of Student Financial Support, in a letter to students and parents. "USU is on the forefront of the national conversations about this change, and will continue to do everything possible to help you access all of the aid you are eligible for to help you pay for college."
If students have already submitted their 24-25 FAFSA, USU expects to receive the student aid eligibility information in mid to late March and will continue to receive student data through the 24-25 academic year.
"We are working in advance to provide a quick turnaround," Whyte wrote, "and our goal is to send official Financial Aid Offers towards the end of April or beginning of May."
That timeline could be delayed, however, if the Dept. of Education sends a student's information later than expected, according to Whyte.
If students aren't sure whether they've submitted their 24-25 FAFSA, Whyte said, they should be able to check at FAFSA.gov. But due to technical glitches introduced with the recent updates, some people have had trouble creating an FSA ID, which prevents them from logging in to check their FAFSA.
If students and parents are unable to create an FSA ID, the Office of Student Financial Support suggests calling the FAFSA information desk at 1-800-433-3243 to check on their applications. The information line may be busy due to these software issues, so it's advised to wait a couple of weeks and try again in late February or early March.
Christina Ayres, director of federal aid at USU, encourages all students to submit the 24-25 FAFSA.
"Some students skip the FAFSA because they assume they won’t qualify for aid or assume they will only qualify for loans," Ayres wrote. "While that may end up being true, there are several reasons why we strongly encourage you to submit a FAFSA if you plan on attending school during the 24-25 academic year."
Those reasons include eligibility for some college or department scholarships, consideration for Federal Work Study, eligibility for emergency aid, and the fact that the current adjustments mean many students who haven't qualified for aid in the past may qualify now.
Students may contact USU Student Financial Support online at USU.edu/financial-support or by calling 435-797-0173.
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