(NewsNation) — A certified financial planner is warning students and parents they won’t have much time to review their financial aid packages due to a delay in the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“It doesn’t leave you a lot of time to get your aid packages back and decide which one you ultimately want to go with,” said financial planner Doug Flynn.
The Department of Education announced last week that information in response to the new FAFSA forms won’t be given to colleges until March, dramatically reducing timeframes for many students choosing their schools.
Colleges traditionally take a few weeks to process the data, and students may not have their final financial aid offers from their prospective schools until April.
However, the traditional decision day for college applicants is May 1, leaving little time for applicants to compare offers.
Flynn is advising immediate action.
“I think you’ve just got to hunker down and get it in now if the website’s operating,” he said.
The new FAFSA form rollout has been riddled with delays and difficulties. The forms normally come out in October, but the Department of Education said it needed more time and waited until the end of December.
When the form was finally made live, it was only active at select times for the first few days, causing confusion and frustration among applicants.
The forms themselves, however, have reportedly been easier and quicker to fill out than previous versions.
The department said last week that 3.1 million students have filled out the applications so far.