March 5, 2024

What Law Students Need to Know About the FAFSA Delay

Derek Brainard, AFC®, CRPC®, Director of Financial Education, AccessLex Center for Education and Financial Capability®
Financial Education


Following the recent launch of the updated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Department of Education plans to send FAFSA data for individual students to schools beginning mid-March this year – a significant delay compared to previous years. Schools require the FAFSA to determine student eligibility for federal student financial aid, including Federal Direct Loans and Federal Grad PLUS Loans.

This delay is impacting all undergraduate and graduate programs across the board, and school systems require updates and testing before they are ready to issue financial aid offers, so students should expect that financial aid notifications will be significantly delayed. Some schools may provide estimates, but this will not be the norm.

Delays in loan processing may create delays in accessing living expenses from student loans in your first term.

How can students prepare and stay updated?

  • Review your expected Cost of Attendance (estimates for tuition, food and housing, books, etc.) for your school(s). Build your budget for the year and identify your options for paying your expenses for the first few months if loan processing is delayed past the start of the first term.
  • Law school applicants: Understand your eligibility for the federal financial aid programs. If you were eligible for federal financial aid as an undergraduate student, you will most likely be eligible for federal loans as a law student.
  • Bookmark the financial aid pages for your target or current schools. As the FAFSA rollout continues, schools may adjust deadlines in response, so you should check back periodically for school-specific updates.
  • Check your messages. As things unfold, schools will communicate any changes to you, likely by email, so it is important to stay up-to-date on your messages.

How can AccessLex Institute help?

As you prepare and wait for further guidance, create your free Ask EDNA! account today. Ask EDNA! – the Education Network at AccessLex – is your guide for personal finance, paying for law school, navigating student loans, and preparing for licensure.

Through the platform, you will have access to personal finance lessons, live webinars, and unlimited one-on-one coaching calls with Accredited Financial Counselors. You can speak with an AccessLex expert about current FAFSA delay updates, paying for law school, building a budget based on cost of attendance, student loan management and repayment, and any other financial questions you may have!