What is FAFSA? 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a critical part of the college journey, determining eligibility for federal, state, and private sources of financial aid. The FAFSA has undergone updates to make it more user-friendly, with the latest version being more straightforward and easier to complete. Additionally, the new application process now takes less than an hour, making it more efficient for students and families. Explore the comprehensive overview of FAFSA simplification for the 2024-2025 academic year in this video: https://saintleo.financialaidtv.com/play/2024-2025-fafsa-simplification/fafsa-simplification-overview.  

Completing the FAFSA form helps students gain access to different types of aid such as scholarships, work-study jobs, grants, and loans. With a substantial portion of students receiving financial aid at Saint Leo University, taking the time to file the FAFSA can greatly impact a student's ability to fund their college education.  

FAFSA is filed online at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa, and it is crucial to input Saint Leo University's federal school code, 001526, when filing. 

Updated FAFSA Timeline 

Recently, there have been significant delays in the processing of FAFSA applications, which could impact students and their families in making decisions related to selecting a college or university. Over 3.1 million FAFSA forms have been submitted, and there have been considerable delays in processing these applications. This leads to a challenging situation for both students and parents. Based on the updates provided, the Department of Education will start transmitting batches of FAFSA information (Institutional Student Information Records or ISIRs) to schools and state agencies in the first half of March. 

This delay in processing financial aid applications will have a domino effect on students, parents, and colleges/universities. Students may find it difficult to determine the affordability of their chosen institutions. 

Benefits of Filing FAFSA 

Access Financial Aid Opportunities: By filing FAFSA, students can become eligible for different types of aid, including federal, state, and institutional aid programs. At Saint Leo University, 97% of students receive financial aid, with merit scholarships worth up to $14,000 currently offered for Fall 24 New University Campus Students.  

Support for Special Circumstances: FAFSA can help identify unique circumstances that may impact your ability to pay for college, such as loss of income, disability, or uncommon medical expenses. By providing supporting documentation, student's special circumstances can be considered during the financial aid process. 

Personalized Support: Saint Leo University's Student Financial Services provides expert guidance and support throughout the financial aid process, addressing any questions or concerns you may have about your aid eligibility. Our Student Financial Advisors are available at (800) 240-7658, Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm ET.  

Navigating Financial Aid Delays 

Despite the financial aid delays, keep in mind the following steps you can take: 

Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with updates on financial aid processing and timelines, ensuring that you are aware of any changes that may impact your application. 

Explore Alternatives: Look into alternative payment plans or additional funding sources like scholarships or part-time jobs that can help cover expenses without placing undue financial stress on you and your family. 

Reach Out for Support: Get in touch with Saint Leo University’s financial aid office, which can provide guidance, support, and resources during these challenging times. 

Filing FAFSA offers many benefits to you and your family, opening doors to financial aid opportunities that can make your college education more affordable. Despite the current delays, stay proactive, informed, and reach out for support as needed – ensuring that you make the most of the financial aid opportunities available to you. 

 Additional Resources:

Stay up-to-date with the latest news by visiting https://fsapartners.ed.gov/knowledge-center.