ISSUED: 5 February 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Delays surrounding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are causing problems for students seeking financial aid in colleges across the country. Shepherd University is working to minimize these problems and to help students find ways to afford their college degrees.
The university launched a webpage on February 2 providing resources for prospective students and their families impacted by the national pause in the FAFSA form. This pause means that colleges and universities across the country will not receive financial aid information until at least mid-March, months later than usual. The delay is making it difficult for students to decide where to attend school and how to budget.
Shepherd’s Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management, Will Bell, said his office wants to minimize the disruption for applicants.
“We understand how critical this information is for our applicants, and we want them to know that we are already making changes to accommodate them, including flexible deadlines to give them time to make this important decision.”
The delays to FAFSA come after the U.S. Department of Education made changes to simplify the form and make more students eligible for aid. Bell acknowledged that the process has been simplified but said the uncertain timeline is challenging for everyone. Shepherd’s FAFSA webpage aims to relieve this uncertainty by providing updates and resources for applicants. Bell plans to update the page as more information is available.
“We want to make sure applicants have a place to get information and figure out what they need to do to join us at Shepherd,” he said. “We’ll update the page with frequently asked questions, tools, and other resources to help them through the process.”
The university held a FAFSA workshop on campus on February 1. Bell said university financial aid staff will also visit local high schools to assist students with completing FAFSA forms. Shepherd’s FAFSA webpage also provides a link to other financial aid opportunities like scholarships and a calculator to estimate a student’s federal, state, and institutional aid eligibility. Links to the current FAFSA form are included on the page.
“Even with the delay, I would encourage students to complete the FAFSA form now so we can send financial aid packages as quickly as possible when we receive data from the Department of Education,” Bell said.
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