The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Following two-month FAFSA delay, UMW extends decision day deadline until June 1, allowing students ease of mind

3 min read
The entrance and part of the inside of the UMW Admissions Office.

The extension gives additional time for students to review their decisions. | Abbey Magnet, The Weekly Ringer


News Editor

In light of the recent delays and changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid , UMW has extended its commitment deadline for accepted first-year undergraduate students from May 1 to June 1. The decision aims to ensure prospective students have enough time to review their financial aid offers before committing to attend UMW. 

This past year, the FAFSA application—which is required for students seeking need-based institutional scholarships—opened two months later than scheduled because of changes made by the U.S. Department of Education in an attempt to simplify and improve the application process. 

UMW is not alone in pushing back its admissions deadline. For years, the majority of colleges and universities in the U.S. have declared May 1 as the last day for admitted students to commit to their undergraduate programs. During a typical year, this deadline usually allows a substantial amount of time for students to review financial aid offers and thoroughly consider each option. Many schools have extended their deadlines by 15 days or more as they work to adapt admissions timelines accordingly. 

Other public universities in Virginia, including George Mason University, Christopher Newport University and the College of William & Mary, extended their deadlines to May 15. Like UMW, Old Dominion University and Radford University extended their deadlines to June 1.

Emma Almassy, a senior English major who works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, said she’s noticed how the FAFSA delay has impacted commitment decisions and general confidence in students choosing a university. Almassy said that compared to previous years, admitted students have been more wary about showing interest and expressing excitement because of the uncertainty and stress that come with unknown finances.

“They’ve had to wait for financial aid to come in before they can really make a decision,” she said. “I think it’s been a lot more stressful on students and staff at universities.”

Emily Chenard is an admitted student who hasn’t yet received her FAFSA or financial aid offers. She hopes to make a decision “in the next two weeks or so,” but the FAFSA delay may cause a longer wait time.

Almassy said she supports UMW’s decision to extend the deadline and believes it was necessary to accommodate these unprecedented inconveniences. 

“If we didn’t push it back, I think there would have been a lot of upset, just because things weren’t happening at the pace that they probably should have been,” she said. “I think it was definitely beneficial for the date to be pushed back to give students more time.”

Caroline Norberg, an admitted student who took part in Destination UMW, an event for admitted students, said she’s lucky to have not experienced any issues herself but knows people who have.

“My FAFSA has not been affected as much because I got mine in pretty early,” she said. “I know some of my friends, though, have had so much trouble and I feel so bad.”

Almassy believes that no harm is to come from granting extra time for students to make their decisions and has faith in UMW to handle it efficiently.

“I think it’ll work out in the end,” she said. “Things are starting to move along now, so I think it’ll be good.”