A student sits in a wooden adirondack chair while looking down at a folder.

What’s the Big Deal with the 2024 FAFSA Delays?

A financial aid explainer for an unexplainable year

If you’ve spent any time watching the news lately, you may have heard some news about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. Specifically, you may have heard information about various delays and how that’s going to affect you as a current senior considering college options.

However, when you’ve never filed the FAFSA or received financial aid offers before, it can be difficult to know exactly what all the news that’s out there means, or more specifically, what it means for you and your family during your college decision process.

So we’re here to help! We’ll give you a quick explanation for what’s happening, what it means, and what you should do.


What is the FAFSA and financial aid process usually like?

You may be asking yourself “how is what is happening this year different from years in the past?” To help, here’s what our financial aid timeline at Agnes Scott looked like last year:

    • October 1: The FAFSA opened for students attending college in the fall of the next year.
    • October 15: The FAFSA began sending information to colleges. This included both the information about HOW to do financial aid offers (aka: the math) and the information from students who were interested in attending that school.
    • January 15: Agnes Scott’s financial aid priority deadline in 2023
    • January 31: We sent out our first round of financial aid offers to students who were admitted early and submitted their FAFSAs. After this date, financial aid offers were rolling, with some going out every week.
    • February: Agnes Scott admission counselors began meeting one-on-one with students and families to discuss and walk-through the financial aid offers.



Why do these changes matter to me?

If you’re a high school senior, you’ve already seen one of these changes in action; instead of October 1, the FAFSA opened on December 31 this year, and for some time afterwards was undergoing testing and user issues that made it harder to fill out. You may have struggled to file the FAFSA until, at earliest, mid-January.

What we recently found out (as in the beginning of February) was that more delays were coming. Go back and review last year’s timeline to refresh your memory. Now, here’s the expected timeline for this year:

    • December 31: FAFSA Opened
    • February 15: Agnes Scott FAFSA encouraged deadline (but you can continue filling it out whenever you can)
    • “Mid-March”: The Department of Education sends FAFSA information to colleges–this includes both the information about HOW to do financial aid offers this year (aka: the math) and the information from students who are interested in attending that school.
    • Mid-March to April: Financial aid offices set up their software with new math and prepare financial aid offers
    • Mid-April: Students begin to receive financial aid offers

Obviously, this timeline is much later than usual and much later than we would prefer.

Two panel meme; the first panel features an orange animated dog wearing a hat sitting in a room on fire at a table. The second panel is the same, but the dog is saying "This is fine."


What is Agnes Scott doing about these delays?

Unfortunately, we can’t make the process go any faster. However, one thing we believe deeply at Agnes Scott is that you and your family should have time and pertinent financial information so you can make the best financial and college decision for yourself moving forward.


We’ve had to go into “emergency mode” to figure out some options for students to give you information before early April. Here are the things we can offer you if you are admitted to the college for fall of 2024:


  • We have created a Financial Aid Estimator Tool for admitted students that will allow us to give students and families an earlier estimate of what their financial aid offer in April will show. If you are an admitted student, check your email or check in with your admission counselor to gain access to fill out the form.


  • We know that keeping track of everything happening with the FAFSA and financial aid is difficult. We promise that we are keeping track, and that we will keep you updated about everything you need to know and do. Make sure you’re watching your email, and save Agnes Scott as a contact so our emails don’t go into Promotions or another folder.


  • No early deadlines: We know that some colleges and universities may tell you that you need to enroll now or early to be able to get housing, parking permits, first-choice class registration, etc. At Agnes Scott, you do not need to worry about that. We are not going to make you make any decisions early, and especially not before you see your financial aid offer in April. At Agnes Scott, as a first-year student you will have housing if you want it in the fall and class registration does not happen until over the summer. You are not disadvantaged in any way if you wait to enroll until after you have all the information. It’s something we believe in, and we want to promise you it will continue.


We hope this brief explainer has been helpful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Office of Admission or your admission counselor to get them answered. Financial aid waits for no one (but we might have to wait for it)!


About the Author:

Rachel West is the Director of Enrollment Marketing at Agnes Scott College. She has a large-sized painting of the “This is Fine” meme in her office.

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One Comment

  • Jianqiang Zhao

    Hello Rachel,

    Thank you for the update!

    By the way, the painting “THIS IS FINE ” is really fine and interesting.


    Jianqiang Zhao

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