FASFA to open on Oct. 1

Students who file the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FASFA) should be aware of a new application opening date. Applications can now be submitted on Oct. 1st. The change comes after years of students filing for FASFA on Jan.1st.
“This (change) is great for current students, but especially great for incoming students” said Matt Walsh, Assistant Director of Financial Aid .
Walsh says that the new application date gives incoming students more time time compare different schools if price is something that impacts their decision making process. He said that it also allows for more of a prolonged decision time.
“We see this as a positive. Families will have financial aid packages in their hands much earlier than in the past, which will allow our staff more time to counsel students as they make their college choice.” said Karen Dahlstorm, Senior Associate Director of Admissions. “Cost conversations won’t be reserved for the final weeks of spring when the pressure to choose a school by May. 1st is looming.
Families can also now use tax information that is already available which eliminates a need for using estimated information, one of the primary reasons for the change in dates.
“There is more transparency and it is all around more efficient.” said Walsh.
Dahlstrom also notes that this could create challenges when it comes to navigating around the cut-off date for Illinois MAP grants.
“Historically, the cut-off has been approximately two months after the FAFSA is available. We don’t know what impact the early FASFA will have on filing rates, and ultimately the cut-off date for the award.” Dahlstorm said.
Walsh said that in the end, the most important thing for current students to remember is that they can file for awards in October now.
The school has marketed this change to students via email and by posting posters and table tents across campus to help with that reminder throughout the academic year thus far.