Financial Aid and applying Early
The FAFSA delay impacts ED applicants who need financial aid. Helping these students navigate their choices for ED is more challenging this cycle because of the lack of up-to-date information on colleges’ policies. I’ve created a list of the most popular ED colleges and their current financial aid policies for ED applicants. Here are takeaways for you to use from this survey.
Most Profile schools will be providing a preliminary financial aid offer with a student’s ED admission. Colleges will estimate eligibility for Federal Student Aid programs using data from CSS Profile. The student would then complete the FAFSA for a final offer and qualification.
Without a processed FASFA, schools cannot be promissory on Federal Student Aid, and the final offer may differ. Some Profile schools that meet 100% of need are committing to fill any gaps with institutional aid, but there are other schools that rely more heavily on Federal Student Aid programs – like loans and work-study – to provide a substantial portion of need-met. There
are more details in the Google sheet.
There are a few concerns around this approach:
- What if there is a significant change in the final award once the FAFSA is submitted?
- For students with such changes in their final awards, will ED still be binding?
- Will students be allowed to keep other admission applications open until they receive their final offers?
For schools that only require the FAFSA, the task is more challenging. Some colleges, like Endicott, Wheaton (MA) and Loyola Marymount, are creating institutional
forms for early admission cycles to collect the necessary information for a preliminary financial aid offer. Other schools, like the University of San Francisco, have not defined the process for Early Decision financial aid applicants yet.
Now more than even it’s important to have students…
- Contact financial aid offices for ED schools under consideration to get details on the process and commitment to offer at the time of ED admission.
- Get a pre-read of their financial aid, especially since many Net Price Calculators are still not updated with
the new FASFA eligibility formula.
- Ask about the potential differences between a preliminary and final award given a college’s institutional aid policy and commitment to meet need.
- Reach out to admissions to understand the nature of binding and options if a preliminary or final award isn’t