Widener Offers Support to Students Applying for Financial Aid -- During FAFSA 'Action Week' and Beyond

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Widener University is providing financial aid programs and policy changes to assist students in understanding the college financial aid process as the federal government declares April 15-19 FAFSA Week of Action.

The week designation announced by the White House and U.S. Department of Education comes at a time when Widener is offering virtual education sessions on understanding the financial aid process – open to all, not just applicants to the university – and has suspended the May 1 decision deadline, and provided a refund option on the university deposit, to give applicants more time to consider Widener’s financial aid package once it arrives.

FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the first and most critical step for prospective college students to seek financial aid for college studies. The process for students planning for fall 2024 enrollment has been complicated by a series of changes mandated by Congress and introduced amid unexpected impediments. While the changes are intended to simplify the financial aid application process, their implementation has been marked by delays.

In addition, FAFSA filing rates nationally were down by about a third over the previous year through March 15. 

“Widener University applauds the White House and Department of Education’s efforts to shine a spotlight on the FAFSA process,” said Widener Vice President for Enrollment Joseph Howard. “It is critically important for all students, and especially those who are first-generation college students or who come from low-income households. FAFSA helps make higher education more affordable, and connects students with need-based financial aid programs.”

Government recommendations for observing FAFSA Action Week, and the coinciding actions Widener is already taking include:

•    Hosting an in-person or virtual FAFSA “Week of Action” FAFSA submission event – Widener is hosting three virtual FAFSA completion workshops during the week– one during the noon hour on April 16, and again in the evening on April 17 and April 18.  These are open to any student or family, regardless of whether they’re considering Widener in their college searches.
•    Communicating with students about the FAFSA and how to submit it – Widener is doing this on a daily basis.
•    Incorporating information about FAFSA and the “Week of Action” into university materials – Widener has done this in multiple publications, including on the university website
•    Encouraging our faculty and staff to aggressively spread the word through their social media channels and in their social circles.

“We know the FAFSA delays have created a lot of stress for college-bound students in the class of 2024. Student well-being is central to our culture of belonging at Widener and we don’t want anxiety about this process to affect this exciting time in their lives,” Howard said. “This effort by the government – to raise awareness about FAFSA, the process and how important it is – is worthwhile and entirely aligned with Widener’s priorities and practices.”