FAFSA deadline extended for MAP grant eligibility

By Danny Ciamprone

Panic turned to jubilation at the NIU Financial Aid Office Monday morning after the MAP grant eligibility deadline was extended to Friday.

The deadline for students to complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for the MAP grant was originally 11 p.m. Monday night. That deadline is now extended to Friday.

Jane Jordan, financial aid office associate director, expressed her relief for the extension.

“We were in a panic trying to let people know,” Jordan said. “To be honest, we worry about our students and trying to get them notified.”

One of the reasons for the extension may be due to a malfunction at the processing center.

“The processing center had an outage from Saturday to Sunday,” said financial aid office director Kathleen Brunson. “We told students we needed them to get that FAFSA done when they couldn’t, so I believe that’s the reason for the extension.”

Jordan said students used to be able to mail their FAFSA as late as August to be eligible for the MAP grant. The deadline then was shortened to July, then April 19 and now March 25.

As of March 18, the Financial Aid Office received 6,498 FAFSA applications for continuing students. This is a 705 applicant increase from the same time last year.

Jordan’s main concern with FAFSA deadlines is for students and how it impacts them.

“For our MAP eligible students, it can be a factor of whether they continue their extended education or not,” Jordan said. “How sad it would be for one’s education to end because of that.”

Junior psychology major Lori Trousdale said she was delighted about the deadline extension.

“I applied this year for it, but I was too late,” Trousdale said. “Now that it’s extended, I’ll go and fill out another one. That’s good news.”

According to www.saveillinoismapgrants.org, 13 percent of the people who are denied MAP grant funding select a four year university as their first choice. Brunson said she worries about this for NIU.

“I am concerned enrollment will go down,” Brunson said. “We are looking at how to find more funding for students and finding financial aid. Students are now searching more for scholarships and loans.”

Jordan said the Financial Aid Office helps students fill out their FAFSA forms every day. This week, the office will e-mail students with reminders; newly admitted students will receive alerts through admissions.

Students who do not apply by deadline will not be considered for MAP grant funding.

“It’s do or die,” Jordan said.