National College Decision Day gets postponed due to FAFSA problems

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Decision Day is when first-year applicants commit to college, otherwise known as the deadline to decide on a school. May 1st has historically been known as National College Decision Day but this year, due to financial aid issues with FAFSA, many schools have pushed their decision day deadlines back.

Julie Poorman, ECU Financial Aid Director says “We’re very upset that we cannot provide the service that we’re used to providing and in the time frame that we’re used to providing it.”

Lee Bray, Pitt Community College Financial Aid Director, says that though FAFSA was due for an update, the new software is causing more of a headache than help.

“There’s the out-front facing student form that had some of its own issues that a lot of them have already been resolved. Then there’s the data piece that’s been transferring from the IRS and they were data input issues. Then there’s the output that the schools receive which is the third portion, and that has its own set of issues too,” Bray told WITN.

ECU is just one university of many that needed to extend their Decision Day deadlines. Poorman says, “May 15th, according to the admissions website however, I suspect that we’ll continue to be flexible as needed. We need people to make some decisions by the first of June so we’ll know how many people we have in the class and we’ll hold a seat for you.”

Poorman and Bray say the Department of Education is working to solve the problems after the FAFSA form wasn’t available to students until January, nearly three months later than usual.

As the kinks are still being worked out, Poorman and Bray say it’s important for students and parents to know financial aid professionals are doing their part.

“Keep your options open but don’t be too frightened. We are going to do everything we can to get that award to you as quickly as we can,” Poorman says.

Bray also told WITN, “We’re all learning this process together. It’s new for us as financial aid professionals, it’s new for the students, so I feel like we’re all in this together.”

Though ECU has extended its decision deadline, PCC and other community colleges are different. Bray says they do not have admission deadlines and encourage students to keep their options open as the timeline on when financial aid programs will come out is still up in the air.

Poorman also told WITN that it’s vital for ECU students to have access to their pirate portal and check in frequently, as that’s where questions and financial aid needs can be seen, as well as any updates on financial aid and FAFSA information.