Financial aid priority deadline draws near

Nicole Stempak

Sophomore German major Bailey Webster was unaware of priority registration but said he would make filling out the FAFSA his priority.

“I didn’t know about this, but I’ll try to get it done this week,” he said.

Priority registration for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid officially begins Saturday, although workers won’t begin processing the forms until Monday.

FAFSA is the form used to apply for Pell Grants and all other need-based aid.


• Financial aid

Money provided to the student and the family to help them pay for the student’s education. Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and work).

•Campus-based aid

Financial aid programs are administered by the university. The federal government provides the university with a fixed annual allocation, which is awarded by the financial aid administrator to deserving students. Such programs include the Perkins Loan, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study. Note that there is no guarantee that every eligible student will receive financial aid through these programs, because the awards are made from a fixed pool of money.

• Pell Grant

A federal grant that provides funds of up to $2,340 based on the student’s financial need.


Traditionally, March 1 is when the Student Financial Aid Office draws the applicants for the 2008-2009 school year, said Conni Dubick, associate director for student financial aid.

“This is our procedure; we’ve been doing it this way for years,” she said.

Dubick said the financial aid office distributes funds on a “first-come, first-served basis.” Students who wait until the summer to submit the FAFSA run the risk of either having to wait for or not receive financial aid.

“Students who meet the priority processing date and who are eligible for (campus-based financial aid) will get it right away in their financial aid package,” she said.

The priority registration deadline helps students and families know what their financial aid looks like for the next school year.

“Our goal is for students to have their aid before they leave school in May,” she said. “We’re doing literally thousands of students’ (reports).”

According to FinAid, a College Board recognized Web site that explains student financial aid information, the federal government provides universities with a fixed annual allocation, which they then distribute to students.

Webster said he received an e-mail from the university reminding him to submit his FAFSA.

“I wish there were more communication (between the university and students),” he said.

If students have any questions about completing the FAFSA, they can contact the Student Financial Aid Office online at or in person at 103 Michael Schwartz Center, Dubick said.

Contact general assignment reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].