Over 85% of all college students receive some sort of financial aid.
At this time of year, many college students usually would be in the midst of completing their FAFSA form. However, due to some new modifications, students will have to wait a little longer before they can start filling it out.
The federal government is implementing the FAFSA Simplification Act for the 2024-2025 academic year. According to the United States Department of Education, the law is changing the form in multiple ways, which may cause confusion among students.
Madeline McGuire, a senior communications major, thinks that the changes are unnecessary and will only make things more complex.
“I feel like it’s making my life harder, honestly, because it’s already a complicated process,” she said.
In order to get financial aid, students need to submit the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The form determines a student’s eligibility for federal loans, grants, and institutional aid. As reported by Student Financial Services, some of the new changes include…
- “The 2024-25 FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students won’t even be presented with all 46 questions.
- Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.
- All contributors must provide financial information. A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. Contributors will receive an email informing them that they’ve been identified as such and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don’t already have one) to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA. Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete, and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine student aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.
- The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed. For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.
- The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI. Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, undergraduate Temple students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.
- Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets. When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.
- Some students will automatically be awarded a Federal Pell Grant.”
Usually, the FAFSA opens to students in October every year, however in order to successfully implement these changes, the form is opening in December this year.
To prepare students for these changes and get them ready to fill out the updated form, Temple’s Financial Wellness Committee held a financial literacy session. The event featured Ron Felder, a student finance professional from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
Ron urged students to do a lot of research, so they would feel prepared to fill out the FAFSA once it opens.
“Ask as many questions as possible, research what your school is going to be costing you, because you’re going to school for 4-5 years, and also provide documentation as accurately as possible,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of having a FAFSA ID.
“In the past, you needed a Social Security number. Now you don’t even need a Social Security number to receive a FAFSA ID. That’s the only way you can actually log into the password for parents and students,” he explained.
The updated FAFSA form will be open to students and families on December 31.
For more information, Ron encourages students to contact him at email@example.com.