Summer is in full swing and rising high school seniors are, no, let me rephrase, the parents of rising seniors are already stressing over the upcoming college application season. Is that a true statement for you? It’s the unknown that gets you. You’ve  come to the right place. We’re here to make this process less overwhelming through education, guidance, and reassurance.  You aren’t the first or the last person to feel this way about the college application and financial aid process. 

Let’s talk about the upcoming FAFSA changes. Change can be difficult at times; it means adapting, learning something new, and maybe feeling uncomfortable or unsure about a process. Everyone is feeling a bit apprehensive about the new FAFSA at this point, including colleges, counselors, financial aid experts, and parents. Good news- we’re all in this together and are learning in real time. 

Applying for financial aid is going to be a little bit different this year, and we’re here to make sure you understand the process and answer your questions. In this article we’ll walk you through the 2023 financial aid timeline, some possible side effects from the delayed release of the FAFSA, and how you can feel confident and prepare for filing in December.

The Timeline For 2023 

There have been many changes to the FAFSA as a result of The FAFSA Simplification Act and The FUTURE Act (Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education), most of which will take effect this fall. We discuss these changes in detail here. As a result, the Department of Education needs more time to get ready before the new form can go “live.”

Normally, the FAFSA is available on October 1 each year, but, this year, the form will not be available until an unspecified date in December. 

You can see the full timeline published by the Department of Education here, but the most important things to know are:

  • Summer 2023 – The Federal Student Aid Estimator Tool will be updated so that families can estimate their Student Aid Index SAI (formerly EFC or Expected Family Contribution)
  • December 2023 – The FAFSA Demonstration Site will be available so that counselors can help students and families with questions about the new FAFSA
  • July 15, 2023 – When you visit your MyCAP account, all changes and updates known thus far will be incorporated into the tool and ready for your use in planning for college
  • Fall/Winter 2023 – Expect to hear about MyCAP webinars on the FAFSA changes
  • December 2023 – You will be able to access and complete your FAFSA
  • December 2023 – Look out for our “How To Complete The FAFSA” video to be posted the myCAP Videos tab
  • October 1, 2024 – The FAFSA will be available on it’s regular date again 

Side Effects Of The Delayed FAFSA

Colleges and universities have a set process for accepting applications and reviewing financial aid forms that normally doesn’t change much from year to year. Some schools have historically been able to issue acceptance letters and financial award letters in November and December to students who applied early.

Many grant application deadlines fall in December and January, which normally gives students and families a few months to complete their financial aid forms. 

Expect there to be changes to a lot of those deadlines this year and/or to the process itself. Specifically,

  • Some private schools may require the CSS Profile or other financial aid form in addition to the FAFSA that had previously not done so
  • Grant application deadlines may be pushed back to allow families time to fill out the FAFSA
  • Early Action and Early Acceptance application or notification dates may be pushed back
  • Due dates for the FAFSA may be pushed back
  • There may be less time between receiving Financial Award Letters and being required to make a college selection.

Don’t Worry, We’re Here to Help!

Just remember, everyone is going through this hiccup together. The families, the guidance counselors, the universities, and the government are all having to learn new things and make adjustments. Hopefully, that will mean we are all willing to extend to each other a little extra grace.

But, most importantly, College Aid Pro has got your back. We are watching and preparing carefully for all of these changes. Here is how we will make this easy for you:

  • As of Jul 15, 2023 we anticipate having all of the changes updated in the MyCAP tool so that you can view your SAI or Student Aid Index and EFC or Expected Family Contribution and how much each school would likely cost your family to attend given the information available so far
  • In the fall and winter, we will host “FAFSA Changes” webinars to make sure you understand the changes taking place
  • In December or as soon as the new FAFSA goes live, our own Peg Keough will record a video with instructions on how to complete the FAFSA which will be posted on our website
  • As always, our coaches are available by appointment to answer your questions when they arise
  • If you want even more help, you can also sign up for our “Wake Me When It’s Over” service to help you through this unusual year for college applications

What You Can Do To Get Ready

There are a number of things you can do to be prepared for a quick turn around, if necessary, once the FAFSA becomes available.

  • Get on the Department Of Education’s new SAI Estimator Tool as soon as it becomes available
  • Sign up for informational sessions offered by your school system
  • Look out for the MyCAP FAFSA review in December 
  • Have your login information handy for all of your financial accounts
  • Apply for your FSA ID in the fall (student and one parent should each apply if they don’t have one already)
  • Book a session with an advisor from MyCAP for help completing your FAFSA if you need help
  • Check college application websites periodically to stay up to date on deadlines

So, yes, the FAFSA will be different, its opening date will be late and many other deadlines and schedules may have to be pushed back as a result. Now you know what to look out for and how to be ready for these changes. You see, armed with the best information in the industry – it’s no longer scary!