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Amid federal delays, Brown postpones FAFSA deadline

Financial aid offices may not receive information until mid-March

<p>On Jan. 30, the White House and Department of Education announced that financial aid offices at schools would not be receiving FAFSA data until March.</p>

On Jan. 30, the White House and Department of Education announced that financial aid offices at schools would not be receiving FAFSA data until March.

This year, students applying for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form were met with delays following significant changes to the form, leading Brown to extend its own FAFSA deadline to March.

The 2022 FAFSA Simplification Act aimed to streamline the application process, but its 2024 launch was far from smooth. When the FAFSA was launched — three months late — it failed to adjust for inflation, meaning some of the 17 million students who fill out the form annually would get less aid. On Jan. 30, the White House and Department of Education announced that schools would not receive FAFSA data until March. 

In response, Brown delayed its FAFSA deadline by a month from Feb. 1 to March 1. The office clarified that this is merely “a ‘priority’ deadline, meaning that if the FAFSA is submitted beyond this date, no penalties will be assessed, nor will a student’s aid be reduced as a result of a late application.”

On Tuesday, The Department of Education announced it would conduct fewer application audits, suspend “new routine program reviews” and offer more flexibility when applying for recertification to receive federal aid to counteract the delays.


Dean of Financial Aid Sean Ferns wrote in an email to The Herald that, while the University expects the FAFSA Simplification Act to make the form “less complicated for families,” the recent delays have made the act’s implementation process “significantly more complicated and confusing.” 

Ferns noted that despite changes to the form, “students will not see a significant difference as we will continue to determine need-based aid as we have in prior years.”

In an email to The Herald, the policy team at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators — a professional society for financial aid administrators — wrote that “the new FAFSA should be easier and take less time to complete due to direct transfer of tax information from the IRS into the application.” 

The policy team added that “many more students are exempt from reporting asset information as well, meaning the lowest income students will be entering only demographic information into the FAFSA.”

While some of the initial issues have been resolved, “we remain very concerned about the remaining unresolved issues, including the inability of students whose parents don’t have social security numbers from being able to complete the FAFSA,” the policy team wrote.

The delayed FAFSA is also set to impact students currently applying to college. 

According to the policy team, the shortened window for universities to receive data and send out aid offers will “impact students because they’ll have less time to evaluate their financial aid offers and make the best possible college decisions.”

According to Nick Lee ’26, co-president of Students for Educational Equity, “these delays to FAFSA have been making it difficult for students to identify accurate numbers on how much support they will receive from universities, especially for students who want to apply early.” 

“While universities were supposed to receive financial aid information at the end of January, they’re now going to be receiving compositional information in the middle of March, so financial aid offers are going to be coming out very late,” he added.

“It is the goal of the Brown financial aid team to make this change as seamless as possible for students and to do all we can to help ease any anxiety they and those that support them may be feeling as a result of the new FAFSA,” Ferns wrote.


Talia LeVine

Talia LeVine is a photographer for The Herald and a University News Senior Staff Writer focusing on Admissions & Financial aid. She is a first-year from Seattle, WA studying Political Science with an emphasis on human rights.

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