Students have until July 1 to fill out the FAFSA for fall aid - MSU Denver RED (2024)

Michael Haederle

June 11, 2024


Despite a rocky rollout, new applications take less time and financial-award notices are being issued.

Last fall, the U.S. Department of Education released a simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid form intended to make financial aid more widely available. Despite a rollout plagued by delays and glitches, students and families report spending less time on applications, and award notices began being issued in May.

“I’ve heard families share they were able to complete the application in as little as 10 minutes, whereas previously they struggled to get through the application, taking at least 30 minutes to an hour or even more because of all of the financial information that they had to compile,” said Kerline Eglaus, Ed.D., executive director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Eglaus added that deadlines for fall have been extended to July 1 to submit the FAFSA and Colorado Application for State Financial Aid, meaning students still have time to receive aid to enroll for fall. She shared her insight on the new application’s impact and how her office has handled the challenge.

Why did the FAFSA change this academic year?

The goal of the simplified application was to reduce the time that families spent on that FAFSA application. They also added additional languages to the application. It was also supposed to change the formula on how the FAFSA would look at eligibility for Pell Grant funding.

This simplified form could potentially provide more Pell Grant funding to more than 200,000 additional applicants who would not have had access to grant funding. But these past several months have been pretty rocky, not just for schools but for families as well. We try to focus on the Department of Education’s promise that this will allow more students and families access to funding, although the process may feel painful to go through. A change like this hasn’t happened in many, many years, but a change like this had to happen.

RELATED: 4 changes to FAFSA and Pell for 2023-24

Why was release of the new application delayed?

The Department of Education had several reasons for delays, including calculation errors that conceivably could prevent schools from receiving copies of students’ applications for schools to offer financial-aid packages. Additionally, inflation adjustments were needed to determine Pell Grant eligibility. Also, there were some glitches in the application. The new application required everyone to have something called a Federal Student Aid ID, even those without Social Security numbers. And during this launch process, that also posed some issues for families. There were a host of other issues as well. It was a domino effect.

Have you revised deadlines for the students to get their applications in for the fall 2024 semester?

Yes. For the fall semester, we would usually have a March 1 deadline for submitting FAFSA and CASFA applications. So far, we’ve extended that deadline twice. Right now, the deadline is set for July 1 to submit FAFSA and CASFA applications, not only for financial aid but also to partake in our Roadrunner Promise program, including our Indigenous and Native Peoples’ Grant. We’ll continue to monitor any challenges that families continue to have and potentially extend it beyond July 1, if needed, and also be a bit flexible for families that continue to have challenges.

RELATED: FAFSA is delayed. Now what?

How have MSU Denver students been affected by the delays?

When we had our FAFSA applications submitted by Oct. 1, we usually would have financial-aid packages to students and families by December of that year or sometimes January of that following calendar year. This year, we didn’t get financial-aid packages to families until May. As you can imagine, families were on standby just trying to learn more about what their financial-aid eligibility would look like so they could plan for their education. We have been working tirelessly to not let this get in the way of students planning to enroll for classes, because we were confident that we could provide financial-aid packages to families before classes started. As the months went on, we saw that more students were submitting their financial-aid applications. They are being submitted, and questions are coming into our office to prepare students and families for the fall semester.

Where can a student or a family member go for assistance if they’re having a hard time filling out the form?

This not only affects the FAFSA application, but it also impacts the CASFA as well. In addition to the support that we offer in our offices to help with FAFSA applications, we also partner with Community College of Denver’s Educational Opportunity Center to assist families with the FAFSA application. We also collaborate with MSU Denver’s Immigration Services on campus to assist with the Colorado application. In the coming months, we’re also going to update and provide financial-aid workshops as well.

RELATED: What students need to know about the new FAFSA

Is there a danger that any students will lose their financial aid this year because of all of this confusion?

Students won’t necessarily lose their financial aid, other than leaving money on the table if they get frustrated with the process and decide to take time off or to not fill out the application at all. There hasn’t been a time like this where we would see more students having access to Pell Grant funding. I remember the days when families used to say, “Hey, I make too much for financial aid.” This is a time where I encourage families to throw that notion out the door and apply for it. We’ve been working diligently in the Financial Aid Office since last year to prepare families. We created a FAFSA-changes website and a robust communications plan that included workshops, podcasts, text messages, in-person workshops, virtual workshops — just to meet families where they’re at to get their application submitted.

Your office seems to play a key role in supporting MSU Denver’s mission of improving student success.

Not only did the application change, but the terminology also changed, including processes and our internal systems along with the FAFSA application. It’s a learning process for financial-aid offices nationwide, along with students. We’re learning as we go, as we’re also still trying to meet the needs of students and families. All of our workshops have been well-attended. I’m proud to say that they are asking the right questions, and I’m very confident that our students are going to eventually come around and get that application completed so they don’t leave money on the table.

For help filling out the FAFSA or CASFA or applying for scholarships, visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships in the Jordan Student Success Building, Suite 130, call 303-556-8593 or email [emailprotected]. Students who’ve already applied for aid should check their student emails and/or the Student Hub for their estimated financial-aid award notices or for any outstanding financial-aid documents for fall 2024.

Students have until July 1 to fill out the FAFSA for fall aid - MSU Denver RED (2024)


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