SMCCCD Fall 2024 FAFSA Delay FAQs

The continued delays of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) have caused anxiety, confusion, and discomfort for many students, families, and college staff and administrators. We want to provide greater clarity on this issue with the FAQs below.

What is the FAFSA, and where can I access it?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the application students complete to apply for federal, state, and need-based grant aid. You can access the FAFSA at or through your college’s Financial Aid website.

Why is there a delay processing the FAFSA?
Recent changes to the FAFSA form were required as part of the FAFSA Simplification Act to make the process easier for students and families. In January 2024, the Department of Education confirmed that it needed to fix a calculation error in the form and the time needed to fix the glitch pushed the date back for the Department of Education to start sending students’ FAFSA data to colleges. This has pushed normal financial aid timelines back multiple months.

What other financial aid programs are affected by the FAFSA delay?
The processing of Dream Act, California College Promise Grant (CCPG), and SB 893 Free College benefits are also delayed.

When can I expect my financial aid? 
Your college’s Financial Aid office plans to begin processing the 2024/25 FAFSA, Dream Act, California College Promise Grant (CCPG), and SB 893 Free College benefits in mid-June for Fall 2024.

Is there anything I need to do?
If you are expecting financial aid, you should refrain from paying fall outstanding balances until late June. In the meantime, review your FAFSA Submission Summary in case you need to make corrections or changes to your application. Official Drop for Non-Payment messages will begin to be sent out around that time, giving you notice of any outstanding balances.

Will I be notified when my financial aid has been posted?
Yes, once your financial aid is processed you will receive an email notification to your my.smccd student email.

What if I pay my Fall 2024 balance before my financial aid is processed? Will I get a refund later?
If you pay your fees before your financial aid is awarded, you will be refunded. Refunds are planned to begin processing on August 19.

Will the FAFSA processing delay affect my scholarship and/or need-based financial aid eligibility? 
The FAFSA delay is impacting the timeline of other need-based aid benefits within the San Mateo County Community College District. Scholarship awards should not be affected.

Does this affect the Summer 2024 term?
No, summer is not affected by the FAFSA delay.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about my financial aid?
Cañada College Financial Aid Office: (650) 306-3308 | Online Contact Form
College of San Mateo Financial Aid Office: (650) 574-6146 |
Skyline College Financial Aid Office: (650) 738-4236 | Online Contact Form