Education

Earlier FAFSA Timelines Proving Popular With Students, Survey Finds

By Debra Viadero — December 02, 2016 1 min read

By guest blogger Caralee Adams

Many students appear to be accepting the federal government’s invitation to file their financial aid applications three months earlier than usual, according to a survey released this week.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid was available on Oct. 1 this year and college officials report that, on average after the first month, they already had received 32 percent of the total FAFSA filings they received for the whole of last year’s incoming class. This information was revealed in the national survey of 171 enrollment managers at public and private four-year colleges and universities by Royall and Company, a division of the EAB, a research and technology company.

“Schools have been encouraging families to think about this as an opportunity that the earlier is the better in terms of access to financial resources,” says Pamela Kiecker Royall, the head of research for the Richmond, Va.-based company. Rather than waiting until Jan. 1 to apply, moving the FASFA timetable gives collegesmore time to build relationships with students so families can make more informed decisions before enrolling. Royall said this shifts the student relationship out of the high school counselors’ hands to the college admissions offices sooner, but colleges have been staffing up to prepare for the change.

Just how colleges adjust award timetables is still unknown. The Royall survey found 57 percent of colleges intend to send out their need-based offers to students two to eight weeks earlier than last year. Another survey by Boston-based technology company Cegment, Inc. in August revealed nearly 77 percent of colleges are planning to deliver financial award letters earlier than in previous years.

The Department of Education rule changes that permitted the earlier application and let families submit “prior-prior year” tax information (from 2015) were aimed at streamlining the process of awarding grants and loans.

Families tend to underestimate their eligibility for college financial aid and eligibility and that misconception can be a barrier that keeps them from applying. While an EAB survey this summer showed 37 percent of students believed they would qualify for financial aid, about 85 percent of all college-going students receive some form of federal financial aid, according to the National Center for Education Statistics

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read