Paper: Aid Deadlines Hurt Low-Income Students

July 18, 2016

A new report out of the Wisconsin Hope Lab finds that a large proportion of students eligible for Pell Grants are underfiling in states with explicit deadlines.

Because higher education funding at the state level is limited, most states use some form of a deadline as a way to ration need-based grant aid within budgetary limits. These states require students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in the spring or summer prior to the funded year. One state, New York, aligns its deadline with the federal deadline of June 30 following the funded year.

"On average, state deadlines fall more than 400 days before the federal deadline and often do not align with institutional aid deadlines, creating communication challenges and increased complexity," says the report, which was co-authored by Sara Goldrick-Rab and Russell Cannon.

Overall, 45.6 percent of Pell-eligible students in states with explicit deadlines filed the FAFSA after deadline.

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