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Updates to FAFSA cause delays in financial aid packages, stress for students

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has undergone changes through the FAFSA Simplification Act to streamline the application process and increase eligibility requirements for funding. However, the updating process has delayed financial aid offers to students. 

Incoming freshmen should receive financial aid packages beginning the week of April 28 through email and printed packets in the mail, according to Ohio University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. 

Returning and transfer students should receive a notification from their MyOHIO Student Center beginning the week of May 5, according to the office.

Candace Boeninger, vice president for enrollment management, said in an email packages will continue to be sent out on a rolling basis as updated FAFSA information arrives. 

“While there have been extraordinary disruptions and significant delays with this year’s federal aid process, the 2024-25 FAFSA is live and working now,” Boeninger wrote in an email. “It is still the primary means by which students can access millions of available dollars in federal, state and institutional aid.”

Boeninger said in an email national data shows many students haven’t filed FAFSA, but there’s still time left.  

“We encourage students to file the FAFSA right away if you haven’t already; it’s not too late and it’s not too hard!” Boeninger wrote. 

Kate Hayes, a sophomore studying journalism, said she relies on FAFSA and the federal Pell Grant to continue her education. 

“We get tuition reimbursement through my mom's work,” Hayes said. “They want my FAFSA and there's a certain deadline, and we haven't been able to meet that deadline because my FAFSA still isn’t back.” 

Hayes said she’s feeling stressed while waiting on her form to come back.

“I don’t know if we’re still going to be able to get (tuition reimbursement),” Hayes said. “I’m just going to use the tuition reimbursement that we got from this semester to pay for next semester.”

Hayes said this year’s FAFSA application process was easier than last year’s, but the lack of information about her financial situation for the upcoming school year has created additional stress.

“I feel like I need to make a lot of money this summer just in case I need it as backup,” Hayes said. “I'm not super worried that OU is going to up-charge me or anything, but just in case, I want to be prepared.”

Sincere Morrison, an incoming freshman studying communications, said waiting on his financial aid package stressed him out, but he received it at the beginning of May.

“(FAFSA) kind of stressed me out because not knowing how much I would get from the FAFSA,” Morrison said. “I'm thinking, ‘oh, what if I don't get enough,’ or ‘how will I pay for it if I don't get enough from FAFSA.’”

Morrison said he needed the form to fill out a separate scholarship application, so the delay in receiving his aid package made him miss out on additional financial aid opportunities. 

Additionally, this was Morrison’s first time filling out the FAFSA form. He said he received help from his high school counselors while completing the form. 

Students should regularly check their emails for updated information regarding the FAFSA, Boeninger said in an email. The financial aid office also has additional resources for students who might need support, she wrote. 

“OHIO’s financial aid team has some of the most experienced and talented professionals in the country, and they’re prepared to help,” Beoninger wrote in an email. “Each OHIO student has an assigned student financial aid counselor who is trained to support students and families as they work to fund their OHIO education.”

The FAFSA Simplification Act made “major changes” to the form, according to the Federal Student Aid office. Changes include replacing the Expected Family Contribution with the Student Aid Index, modifying the family definitions in FAFSA formulas, expanding access to Federal Pell Grants and streamlining the FAFSA form. 

To learn more about the changes, visit the Federal Student Aid websiteor visit Ohio University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships website


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