Navigating the FAFSA Crisis: A Timeline


​​​The FAFSA Simplification Act, enacted by Congress as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, represents a significant overhaul of how federal student aid is awarded. This law required the Department of Education (ED) to streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, made crucial changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand Pell Grant eligibility, and removed restrictions to make federal student aid more accessible to all students.

However, implementation of the new FAFSA has been rife with delays and errors. The new form was originally supposed to be available for award year 2023-2024 but was delayed a year. In March 2023, ED announced that the FAFSA, typically available Oct. 1, would not be available until December. Additional setbacks have occurred since, leading to alarmingly low rates of FAFSA completion. Given these challenges, ACE has encouraged institutions to do their part by delaying the traditional May 1 enrollment deadline. If your institution has done so and is not yet on the list, please email Nick Anderson, ACE vice president for Higher Education Partnerships and Improvement.

This timeline details the FAFSA implementation process, starting when ED shared specifics for the December release.​