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The University of Minnesota and some private colleges announced Thursday that they will give students more time to decide whether they want to attend, after the federal government announced FAFSA delays that mean financial aid offers from colleges nationwide will go out later than usual.

Students accepted to the U's Twin Cities campus will now have until May 15 to commit to attending next fall, as opposed to the typical May 1 deadline, Provost Rachel Croson told regents in a public meeting. Croson said students attending the university's four other campuses — Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester — will have until "June 1 or later."

Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, said in a statement: "We know that choosing a university and figuring out how to pay for it are significant decisions for most students and families. We wanted to provide incoming students additional time to receive their financial aid offer, apply for housing, and make the right college decision for their circumstances."

Admissions officers at several private schools — Augsburg University, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University — also announced extensions.

The changes came roughly a week after the U.S. Department of Education announced that it would be sharing students' financial aid information with schools weeks later than anticipated, sending college leaders across the country scrambling to figure out if they should adjust their decision deadlines.

In a typical year, nearly 18 million Americans — including about 225,000 Minnesotans — fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a form overseen by the U.S. Department of Education that is used to determine which government loans and grants students should receive. Students can elect to share their information with colleges, which can then download the data and use it to determine if people are eligible for aid they offer as well.

But the U.S. Department of Education announced last week that schools won't be able to access that information until March — about six weeks later than expected.

Decision deadlines vary, but many schools ask students to commit by May 1. That included many of the University of Minnesota campuses, as well as the private schools that announced extensions.

National organizations representing financial aid officers were quick to express their frustration with the FAFSA delays. The U.S. Department of Education typically opens the FAFSA to students in October; this year, it opened in late December while the department attempted to update and streamline the form.

"These continued delays, communicated at the last minute, threaten to harm the very students and families that federal student aid is intended to help," Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said in a statement.

Colleges are responding to the delay differently.

Admissions officers at many of the schools that announced extensions said they're still encouraging students to complete the FAFSA form early, to increase their chances of getting the maximum consideration for scholarships.

Croson said U students who think they might need additional time or accommodations can contact the admissions offices at the locations where they've been accepted.

"We work with them on an individual basis to find a timeline that works for them," Croson said.

Doug Anderson, a spokesperson for the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities, said last week that they "do not anticipate that this delay will have an impact on financial aid awards themselves."

Four Minnesota colleges also use a different form run by the College Board, called the CSS Profile, to determine if students qualify for aid they offer. Three of those schools said they are sticking with their usual May 1 decision deadlines so far but are willing to work individually with students who request an extension.

"We know it's possible that some of our admitted students will be deciding between Carleton and another school with a delayed decision deadline, and we want to be supportive of those students' needs," said Helen Clarke, a spokesperson for Carleton College.