Good things come to those who wait. At least that is what we are hoping for with the delay in FAFSA filing this year! The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is undergoing modifications to make the financial aid form easier to complete and more generous to families in need. Each year families with students in college have the opportunity to fill out this often laborious form as early as October 1st. This year the changes that are being implemented will result in a delay of the availability of the FAFSA form. Officials say the form won’t be available until sometime in December.
December is a very busy month to be thinking about financial aid, but don’t let this one slip by if you have students going to college for the 2024-2025 school year! Even if you do not think you may qualify for financial aid, many colleges use the FAFSA as a reference for merit-based scholarships. Set a festive reminder to fill out the form (and check it twice!). Here are a few of the highlights (visit https://studentaid.gov/help-center/answers/article/fafsa-simplification-act for more details):
- These changes came about due to the FAFSA Simplification Act.
- The Federal Pell Grant will be expanded to help more students in need.
- Students can list up to 20 colleges they are interested in attending, up from 10 in previous years.
- The simplified form should integrate more seamlessly with the IRS data-sharing tool, resulting in fewer income verification requests and minimizing delays in granting aid.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) as a tool in determining financial aid eligibility. This new index eliminates the number of family members in college, which may impact some families.
While waiting on the Federal form to open, families can access the CSS Profile (College Scholarship Service Profile), managed by the College Board to help students apply for non-federal student financial aid. The CSS profile will continue with its normal October 1st availability. You can access the application here: https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/