Campus Life

Why Is FAFSA Delayed?

Texas A&M experts explain recent changes in federal student financial aid and where to find help navigating the application process.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications January 22, 2024

Students hoping for financial aid to attend college have come across delays in offer letters as changes in the application process begin to take effect. The FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Financial Aid) Simplification Act was passed in 2020 and begins to take effect with the 2024-25 award year, and although initially there are delays, students and families are set to experience a more streamlined process in the end, Texas A&M experts say.

Texas A&M Today checked in with Bridgette Ingram, director of Scholarships and Financial Aid, and Erin Porter, director of Aggie One Stop, to find out what’s changed and where to go for help.

What has changed with FAFSA?

Ingram: The complexity of the FAFSA was a barrier to students accessing financial aid. The new system is designed to remove that barrier. For example, an applicant could answer as many as 26 fewer questions now. The streamlined FAFSA should take less time to fill out as well.

Porter: Simplification is a big part of it, but they have also changed the way that eligibility for federal student aid is calculated and determined. The ‘Student Aid Index’ is replacing the Expected Family Contribution and the Student Aid Report is now the ‘FAFSA Submission Summary.’ That has trickle-down effects that impact how state financial aid and institutional financial aid will need to be determined. These are major changes, but I think ultimately, they will benefit everyone involved. There needed to be an overhaul — it’s short-term pain for long-term gain. Read more about the changes to FAFSA from the U.S. Department of Education.

Will the overhaul affect when students receive funds?

Ingram: No, but it will affect the timing of offer letters. So, if students are applying for financial aid at multiple schools, they will have less time to decide which financial aid offer they’re going to accept. In the past we were able to send out freshman offer letters at the end of January. With this delay we are hoping to send offer letters by early-to-mid-April.

How do students complete the 2024-25 FAFSA and where can they go for help if needed?

Porter: Students need to apply on the FAFSA site. If they are in need of assistance, Aggie One Stop exists to help students and families with everything related to their financial aid as well as other enrollment services. Visit us at and be sure to read our FAFSA Changes page.

Ingram: I’ll add that for incoming freshmen, we have Prospective Student Centers around the state where our advisers are trained in the financial aid application process.

What do you hope will be the result of the overhaul?

Ingram: At the end of the day, the FAFSA improvements are to make federal, state and institutional financial aid more accessible to students. The government is predicting that as a result of the overhaul, more students will be eligible for Pell Grants and need-based aid.

Find additional help at local events:

Growing Towards Your Future ’24
Jan. 23
6-8 p.m.
The Brazos Center
3232 Briarcrest Dr., Bryan

FAFSA Workshop at College Station High School
Feb. 1
5-7 p.m.
CSHS Library
4002 Victoria Ave, College Station

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