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PASSHE universities extend enrollment deadlines

Universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education are extending deadlines for prospective students amid federal financial aid delays, offering more time for students to review offers before they decide to enroll.

PASSHE announced Monday all 10 affiliated universities, including Slippery Rock University, have implemented rolling admissions or are extending enrollment deadlines.

Extended deadlines come as the U.S. Department of Education rolls out an updated version of FAFSA that broadens student access to financial aid and the number of Federal Pell grant recipients. The updated form has encountered setbacks in the process, causing delays.

The 2024-25 FAFSA, which is now available online, initially was scheduled to launch Oct. 1, but the online form didn’t open until Dec. 30. The updated FAFSA form now adjusts financial aid for inflation after the new form initially failed to do so.

In response to these delays, SRU has pushed back its enrollment deadline from May 1 to May 15, according to Alyssa Dobson, director of financial aid and scholarships.

“Normally, we would have our financial aid offers out by Thanksgiving to allow ample time from students and their families to compare offers and make decisions,” Dobson said.

This year, universities won’t receive data about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, until mid-March, which means — Dobson said — financial aid offers cannot go out until April.

“This only impacts new, incoming freshmen for 2024,” she stated. “For our continuing students, their financial aid offers will go out in June after we can process final grades from spring. This is the normal schedule for continuing students.”

At SRU, about 30% of undergraduate students receive a federal Pell Grant.

At Butler County Community College, 40% of students pursuing at least six credits received Pell grants during the 2023-24 academic year, Juli Louttit, the college’s director of financial aid, said.

BC3 has not extended enrollment deadlines, but “students can add a course up to one day after it begins during BC3’s 14-week sessions, pending seat availability,” according to Morgan Rizzardi, BC3’s director of admissions.

To learn more about the updated FAFSA form and how to file for federal student aid, students and families can join a free virtual overview of the application hosted by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Students and families can register online at pheaa.org/virtual.

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