Shawana Singletary, Adelphi University’s vice president and chief enrollment officer,...

Shawana Singletary, Adelphi University’s vice president and chief enrollment officer, at the university in Garden City on Feb. 5. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Another delay in the newly designed Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, has local university and college officials concerned for families who rely on this information to find out how much financial aid they will receive.

The application period typically opens in early October, but was delayed for three months. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced another setback: Colleges now won’t receive a student’s information until mid-March. Schools used to receive this data in January, or even in December in some cases.

“This is an extremely unfortunate and stress-inducing set of news that we received from the federal government,” said Stephen Ostendorff, dean of admissions at Molloy University in Rockville Centre. “Pushing the information to us in March means that we can’t get information to students in as timely a manner as we normally would.”

Schools use that data to calculate a student’s financial aid package. Students use that package to decide where to commit and what they can afford. Decision day for most schools nationwide is May 1.


  • The U.S. Department of Education has announced that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, will be delayed again.
  • Long Island colleges are concerned because they won’t receive the information until mid-March, leaving some families with a short time to decide on where to enroll.
  • The form takes into account a student’s financial situation, which is submitted to the federal government. Colleges use the data to determine a student’s federal aid eligibility or in some cases grants.

“Many students who may be low-income/first generation who are relying on government aid are at a particular disadvantage in choosing their college or university because they are unable to get a full picture and understanding of where they will land with their college financing plan,” said Shawana Singletary, Adelphi University’s vice president and chief enrollment officer.

Officials at schools across Long Island said they are keeping in touch with prospective and enrolled students, aiming for a quick turnaround when they receive the form and are taking a look at their existing deadlines.

The delay “limits the time frame for students and families to receive and compare awards from multiple universities,” said Joseph Posillico, New York Institute of Technology's vice president for enrollment management. “This delay would provide students with just about a one-month turnaround before the May 1 decision date. I know that New York Tech and others are considering extending the decision date to relieve some of the pressures that families may be feeling.”

The school has been in communication with parents regarding the delay, providing families with sample aid packages from New York Tech, and are considering changing the school’s decision deadline, he said.

In a statement, Jessica Eads, Hofstra University's senior vice president for student enrollment, engagement and success, said the school joins “many of our colleagues across the country in our concern regarding the continued delay and technical issues impacting families this admission cycle. We know these challenges will only add anxiety to an already stressful time in a student’s life.”

When the data is finally available, Hofstra officials said they are preparing to turn around financial aid packages quickly and extend the hours of student financial advisers as well as take other steps to support students.

The FAFSA takes into account a student’s financial situation, including the assets of the student’s parents. That information is submitted to the federal government, which sends the data to the colleges that use it to determine a student’s federal aid eligibility or in some cases grants from the school.

A streamlined form was introduced this year that was supposed to make the process easier.

But last week, as a result of the U.S. Department of Education's inflation calculation mistake, Singletary said, millions of students have been left in limbo. This was after the FAFSA process opened Dec. 31 in a soft launch that also was problematic for many families, she said.

“While this crisis leaves families feeling stagnant and anxious, this is an opportunity for college and university admissions and financial aid officers to come together to connect and engage with students and their families by creating transparency, providing estimates and extending deadlines,” Singletary said.

During Adelphi's accepted-students week from Feb. 19-23, and on accepted-students day, March 2, students will have the chance to connect with Adelphi's admissions and financial aid team, Singletary said.

She said that if families do not have the information by then, they should still look at other factors, such as job placement outcomes, academic scholarships and study abroad programs. That will help narrow a student’s choices when they finally receive their financial aid package.

“Don’t let it stop you from engaging,” Singletary said.

Ostendorff is hopeful that the March deadline will be met — especially during a time when college affordability is a main concern of prospective and enrolled students. Current students also file the FAFSA while in school.

“The idea of being a consumer is knowing the cost of something and without a financial aid package in hand — it's impossible," Ostendorff said. "It is extremely important that we get the processed information and once it is received, we will get the information to students as quickly as we can."

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