KCTCS president forms task force to address FAFSA delays

Published 12:14 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

Colleges and universities across the country are dealing with an unprecedented delay in students’ ability to apply for federal financial aid due to the largest overhaul in decades to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The 16 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are no exception, with numbers significantly trailing from a year ago, so KCTCS President Ryan Quarles has formed a rapid response task force to address the delays.

The impact of these delays on lower-income students is causing concern, so KCTCS will rely on its own experts at each of the colleges to come together and develop a quick and significant response.

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“While KCTCS cannot control the federal financial aid process, we are actively doing all we can to make it understandable and accessible for our students in a timely manner,” said Quarles. “This task force demonstrates our commitment to our students and to doing everything we can to ensure that those from all socio-economic backgrounds have an opportunity to pursue their education with KCTCS.”

Quarles said the task force will:

  • Develop and implement a communication plan for KCTCS students.
  • Provide estimated financial aid notifications for new and returning students.
  • Monitor the impact of FAFSA simplification and provide recommendations for strategic enrollment actions.
  • Anticipate short-term and long-term implications of aid notification and award delays and provide solutions.

“In a typical year, by March 20, KCTCS has already received FAFSA data for 35,000 students,” Quarles noted. “In the current year, KCTCS has received a little over 7,000 records. With stats like this, you can understand the potential impact this disruptive rollout may have on our colleges and current and future students.”

Colleges began receiving limited FAFSA information last week, and although the exact delivery timeline for the backlog of submitted FAFSAs from the Department of Education remains uncertain, KCTCS is actively working to streamline the process. In a typical year, FAFSA information is usually provided to college financial aid departments in early October. Despite the current delay, Quarles says KCTCS remains committed to ensuring that students receive the financial aid they need for their education.