/ Modified apr 20, 2024 10:05 p.m.

Arizona students still unsure of financial aid for fall as Gov. Katie Hobbs announces FAFSA campaign

Students and parents are still unsure how much financial aid they will be offered for the 2024-25 school year.

ua mall union A view of the mall at the University of Arizona taken from the Student Union.
AC Swedbergh / AZPM

Students across the state are still in limbo as they wait to hear how much financial aid they can expect to receive for the upcoming school year.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA, has now been delayed for months. This means that students and parents are still unsure how much financial aid they will be offered for the 2024-25 school year, which may delay college decisions. Arizona universities are hoping the information will be ready by the end of April so they can relay financial aid information to students.

The delays have caused a significant decrease in the number of people who submitted a FAFSA form.

“Arizona has seen nearly 10,500 fewer seniors completing the FAFSA compared to last year,” Arizona Board of Regents Chair Cecilia Mata said in a statement last week. Gov. Katie Hobbs took additional steps to address this dramatic drop in applicants.

On Wednesday, Hobbs announced an investment of $500,000, which aims to increase statewide resources to assist students and families and increase FAFSA completions. The funding is coming from the federal Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools program.

Hobbs declared April the “Finish Line to the FAFSA Month,” to encourage all Arizona high school seniors and current college students to apply for federal student aid. She also said in a statement that the campaign “is calling on our community to work together to raise awareness about the FAFSA, organize events, and provide support to Arizona high schools and graduating seniors.”

Adelynn Padilla, a sophomore at Arizona State University, applies to FAFSA each year and said the delays are impacting her. “I’m still worried, my mom is too, because we don’t know how much I’m getting back,” she explained, “because I’m getting back less and less each year.”

All three of Arizona’s public universities – ASU, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona – have extended the FAFSA priority filing date to May 1. The original date was Jan. 15, but schools have extended the deadline multiple times.

New updates to the form are one reason for the delay. The new FAFSA form “expands eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants, and provides a streamlined user experience,” according to the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

These changes often impact immigrant families disproportionately, said Liz Paulus, executive director of College Bound AZ, a nonprofit that guides students on their journey to college. She explained that immigrant families potentially have added steps to their forms like third-party certification, which can result in more confusion. Another problem involving Social Security numbers has caused more delays, but federal officials said those problems have been resolved.

The board of regents provides a college planning website for Arizona residents that includes FAFSA resources and a calendar of events. For more information and assistance navigating the FAFSA form, Arizonans can visit College Ready AZ. The U.S. Department of Education sets the federal deadline – each year, the FAFSA form for that particular academic year is available until June 30.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona