Widener University suspends decision day deadline amid FAFSA information delays

On Tuesday, the U.S. Dept. of Education announced it will begin sending the FAFSA information to schools and state agencies in March.

This story originally appeared on 6abc. 

After a series of technical complications surrounding FAFSA, Widener University leaders said now there is another setback.

“These changes are going to affect our most vulnerable students, students who need aid,” said Joseph Howard who is the Widener University Vice President of Enrollment.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced it will begin sending the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information to schools and state agencies in March.

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The Department said they need to update the system to ensure students benefit from an additional $1.8 billion in aid.

“It means schools aren’t going to be in a position to provide financial aid offers until sometime in April or beyond,” said Howard. “In a normal year, we send out financial offers right around December-January.”

Howard said because of the FAFSA delays, they suspended the May 1 decision deadline for incoming fall students.

“We wanted to give them and their families sufficient time to evaluate their options, have conversations with us to really access the affordability of their college experience,” said Howard.

Schools across the country are taking action too.

Howard said the University of Illinois Chicago, Kalamazoo College, Oregon State University, and more extended their deadlines to June 1.

Widener University students support the change.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said freshman Gui Labranche. “College is a big decision in many kids’ lives, so them having the extra time might benefit them in the long run.”

“I really appreciate the school for doing this because a lot of people who struggle financially really need this,” said freshman Mya Sanchez.

Howard encourages other schools to suspend their deadlines, too.

We reached out to other local universities.

Saint Joseph’s University said: “Despite the delays caused by the Department of Education, Saint Joseph’s University is currently having discussions on how to get financial aid information out to families earlier so they can make an informed decision during this difficult time.”

La Salle University said: “La Salle University understands fully the impact that the delays with FAFSA have on students…While we are not making any changes to our admission process, we are making increased efforts to personally reach out to every student and to show them the care and concern La Salle is known for. We will continue work closely with students and their families throughout the process and when they are ready to commit to La Salle–before or after May 1.”

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