NewsFAFSA Undergoes Dramatic Changes This Upcoming Cycle

FAFSA Undergoes Dramatic Changes This Upcoming Cycle

FAFSA has implemented new changes to its form this year, drawing comments regarding its restructured application and distribution model.

FAFSA has revamped its application process this year, switching to a shorter form and changing how financial aid is distributed.

For every college student entering the new school year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can often be a source of immense stress. However, this year, the U.S. Department of Education has implemented changes to make the task easier for parents and students. 

In an interview with PBS News, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, an economics and finance expert at The Washington Post, broke down these recent modifications and what they could mean for students and universities.

The crux of this year’s FAFSA model is its newest aid calculation methodology, which differs from previous years. According to Forbes, rather than use the expected family contribution (EFC) metric to determine aid eligibility, FAFSA has moved to a Student Aid Index (SAI). Though both methods function similarly, there are still some distinguishments between the two. For instance, dependent students of separated or divorced parents must report the income of the parent who offers the most financial support as opposed to the parent they live with for most of the year. 

However, the Department of Education plans to rectify this in the next application cycle. “The Department says they’re aware of it. They’re going to fix it for the next cycle. But for this upcoming cycle, the ’24, ’25 academic year, there are a lot of students who may not get as much aid as they are actually entitled to,” said Douglas-Gabriel.

Regarding the application’s late release, she cited many factors.

Douglas-Gabriel offered advice for incoming applicants in light of FAFSA’s changes.

“Don’t be frightened; I have to say this forum is a lot simpler and a lot easier to access than what I filled it out many, many moons ago. And I think that’s a great thing, right? It’s a lot shorter. It’s a lot more intuitive. And it should be really helpful for parents to get through this with ease.”

 FAFSA’s new form will go live at the end of December this year.

Source: Black Enterprise


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