PASSHE schools are extending Decision Day due to FAFSA changes

19 February 2024- Universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) are giving potential new students more time to review financial aid offers and to make their decision to enroll. The extension will help to mitigate delays that are being experienced nationwide due to the U.S. Department of Education’s new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, known as FAFSA. 

All 10 PASSHE universities either use rolling admissions to continuously review applications or are extending the deadline to at least May 15 for new students to commit to a college or university. In addition, the universities have committed to ensuring flexibility to help students and their families through the process. The traditional deadline in the U.S. is May 1—commonly referred to as National College Decision Day. 

“PASSHE universities are doing everything they can to give students and families more time to consider financial aid offers,” said PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “We know that most of our students are from low- and middle-income families, and they rely on financial aid to attend their PASSHE university. Going to college and earning a degree or credential is life changing, and those decisions should not be rushed. This extension gives students the time and flexibility to consider their financial aid options and make informed decisions.” 

The U.S. Department of Education significantly overhauled the FAFSA form this year, making it shorter and simpler for students, but the rollout has caused delays of five to six months. As a result, colleges and universities across the country will not receive financial data from the FAFSA form until mid-March. Higher education institutions, including PASSHE, use the data to determine the amount of financial aid to offer students. 

Filing the FAFSA online helps determine if a student qualifies for a federal Pell Grant, the Pennsylvania State Grant, scholarships provided by universities and federal student loans. 

“I encourage all high school seniors and any other potential students to complete the new, streamlined FAFSA form as soon as possible,” said Greenstein. “Submitting the form is the vital first step to accessing grants, scholarships and other free aid that many Pennsylvania students need and deserve.” 

Universities are informing prospective students about the extended commitment deadline and will work to provide financial aid offers as soon as FAFSA data is made available by the U.S. Department of Education. 

The 2024-25 FAFSA application is available at StudentAid.gov/FAFSA. Additional information is available from each PASSHE university’s Financial Aid Office and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).