Student Aid addresses FAFSA delays

Securing financial aid is a crucial step in ensuring access to higher education opportunities. Lamar University’s Office of Student Aid aims to serve its students by offering a comprehensive array of financial aid services designed to alleviate the financial burdens associated with pursuing a college education. 

General LU Stock Photo

In this Q&A with Director of Student Aid Megan Begnaud, we discuss the services provided by Lamar's Student Aid office, shedding light on the resources available to students and guiding them towards academic success and how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) delays are affecting processing applications. 

What services does Lamar University's Financial Services office offer to students? 

For our new students, we focus on reaching out and communicating with high school counselors. We offer FAFSA events which assist students and their parents with completing the FAFSA application and ensuring that it's processed correctly. We also work with high school counselors in assisting them with understanding the new FAFSA application so they can assist students in their high school, as well as providing them with up-to-date information on the different awards that students are available for here at Lamar. We work with them to encourage their students to complete our scholarship application so that students can be eligible for more assistance that they might not be aware of.  

What financial aid options are available through Lamar University's Financial Services (this is the student business office) versus those offered by the government? 

We have several scholarship opportunities here at Lamar. Students may qualify for one of our merit-based university scholarships or have the opportunity to be selected for an opportunity available to Lamar University students thanks to the generosity of our donors. These endowed scholarships are unique in that many identify students based on their specific degree programs or other qualifying factors. Students that complete the Lamar University Scholarship Application are matched with the opportunities they qualify for, which is a major advantage for our students.

How has the FAFSA delay impacted LU’s financial aid services?  

The most significant impact we see with the delay in the FAFSA application is the inability for students to feel secure in paying for their continued education. Because the FAFSA application is used by the federal government to notify schools how much aid a student is eligible for, schools are unable to offer any financial aid to students without this information. This information tells us how much the family can pay towards a student’s education and how much assistance is needed when we look for opportunities to assist that student. The information the FAFSA provides is really what gives us the tools to be able to determine what we can or can't award a student within the guidelines of federal regulations. 

What kind of issues has this delay with FAFSA caused for families and students?  

The biggest issue we are facing now is the delay in our typical timeline. Historically the FAFSA application opens to students and their families in October and schools begin to receive that student information in January. Colleges receiving student data in April has significantly reduced the amount of time students have to review their financial aid awards and make steps towards selecting a school.

What information is imperative for students impacted by the delay?

We encourage all students that are waiting to make updates to their FAFSA application to continue logging into the Federal Student Aid portal. The latest update that we received stated that this function would be available to students and their families in the first half of April. 

How is LU handling this delay internally? 

I think it is important for our current and future Cardinals to know that we have worked diligently over the past several months to stay on top of any updates needed to receive the information as soon as it's available to us. We know this is going to be a very interesting time for our staff and for our students, but we are doing everything we can in anticipation of the additional support needed over the next few months.    

We are working hard to make ourselves available to our high school counselors and students in any way we can be. We are prepared to take on any unknown challenges and work through whatever students need to assure funding for their future at Lamar University!