February 23, 2024

Arizona's public universities extend financial aid deadline due to federal delays

The board moved to extend the Arizona Promise Program deadline to May 1.

University of Arizona mall and union Looking west across the University of Arizona mall. The Student Union Memorial Center and Old Main can both been seen.
AC Swedbergh / AZPM

All three of Arizona’s public universities have extended the Free Application for Federal Student Aid priority deadlines to May 1 in response to delays and challenges within the U.S. Department of Education.

In January, the federal government informed universities across the country that delays with FAFSA will prevent the department from providing student FAFSA records until mid-March. That data is utilized to inform universities of which students qualify for the Arizona Promise Program, which covers tuition and fees for low-income Arizonans. 

In response, the board moved to extend the deadline to allow more students and families to apply for the program. 

“The delay in federal data leaves students and families across the country very little time to evaluate financial aid offers and select a university,” DuVal said. “Education equals opportunity. Extending the Promise priority deadline offers families more time to choose their best college and financial aid options.” 

Last fall, FAFSA underwent changes to expand Pell Grant eligibility by 30% and to simplify the process so students could complete the form. However, the form, which is typically available to students on Oct. 1, did not become available until Dec. 30 thus shortening the window for students to complete it. 3.6 million students have submitted the form, but millions of others are either having difficulty or are unable to access it due to software issues. ABOR estimates that upwards of 10,000 Arizona high school seniors are unable to complete the form due to technical issues. FAFSA applications within Arizona are down by 45% in comparison to last year.

Low-income, first-generation, marginalized students will be disproportionately affected due to the delays. Those students rely on financial aid offers to make decisions regarding their school of choice, housing and employment. 

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