ms. Receipts. Tax season can leave students swimming in paper. Those wanting financial aid had better swim fast-Washburn University students now have less time to submit their financial aid requests.
All scholarship and all FAFSA applications must be in the Financial Aid office by Feb. 15 to be considered for the upcoming 2006-2007 year. This is a change from March 1, a deadline that had been in place for several years.
“Students will not be considered for federal award funds if they miss the deadline,” said Annita Huff, director of financial aid. “Last year, I ran out of those funds by Feb. 15, so some students who met the March 1 deadline did not receive government funds. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of receiving money.”
A change has been in the works for the past three years, said Huff, and the Financial Aid office has taken several steps to get the word out. Since August, the office has posted several flyers in each building on campus, sent out numerous emails to all students and posted signs on every table in the Memorial Union.
“We started advertising early to get the word out. Students have had time to get into school and now they can focus on applying for aid for fall 2006 and spring 2007,” said Huff.
Students may have been given time to plan for the new deadline, but that doesn’t mean they have fully adjusted to it. This change means students now have only 45 days from the start of the year to prepare financial aid applications. The amount of aid each student receives is based upon the previous year’s income. Awards are given on a first come, first serve basis and many students do not apply for aid until their taxes are completed.
“I don’t especially like the change,” said Vernon Appleton, a junior from Dodge City, Kan. “It means that I have to get my taxes done sooner, and if my parents want to claim me, they have to get their taxes done sooner too.”
The new deadline will have no affect on Federal Pell Grants or Federal Stafford/Plus Loans as these funds are always available based on student eligibility.
Instead, the deadline will primarily affect funds from three government programs-Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study and Perkins Loans, said Huff. These programs are called campus-based funds because after the government sends Washburn its yearly allotment, the University is required to provide a 25 percent match of the money.
“We moved up the deadline because our allocations have not increased to keep up with the number of students coming to Washburn,” said Huff. “These funds are finite-once they are gone, there is no more money.”