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WWU extends commitment deadline to June 1 due to FAFSA delays

University calls FAFSA issues a 'critical threat' to enrollment at Board of Trustees meeting

Amid delays to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Western Washington University has extended its commitment deadline to June 1. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
By Charlotte Alden General Assignment/Enterprise Reporter

Western Washington University has extended its commitment deadline to June 1, following nationwide Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) delays.

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Shelli Soto said at a Friday, Feb. 9 Board of Trustees meeting that the university was informed last week it would not be receiving FAFSA information on students from the Department of Education until the first half of March. Soto said they were initially told they would begin receiving this information in late January or early February.

Western’s original deadline for students to accept offers of admission was May 1, but now the university has joined dozens around the country to push back their deadline to give students more time to make their college decisions. Soto said other universities in Washington are also considering moving their deadlines to June 1.

Soto said they have also rearranged all the “critical onboarding procedures and timelines” for housing, advising and registration.

The Department of Education introduced a new FAFSA application this year, which didn’t open until Dec. 31. The system was down and wasn’t working for many families at the beginning of January, Soto said.

Soto said in Friday’s meeting that the FAFSA issues are a “critical threat” to Western’s enrollment.

“We are very cognizant of the fact that this kind of situation, just like with the pandemic, there were people who would have otherwise gone to college who fell out of the pipeline,” Soto said. “This is that level of event that is going to result in some people falling out of the pipeline.”

Western Communications Director Jonathan Higgins said in a message that further details on the changes will be released early next week.

Charlotte Alden is CDN’s general assignment/enterprise reporter; reach her at charlottealden@cascadiadaily.com; 360-922-3090 ext. 123.


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