How the FAFSA is Making Financial Aid More Accessible to Families Nationwide
In the last year and a half, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – or FAFSA – has undergone major changes to make the application easier to complete for students nationwide. This is the first major update that the FAFSA has experienced in 40 years. Not surprisingly, these changes have impacted the opening of the application for the fall. Now, the FAFSA is supposed to be released sometime this month by 31 December. As we wait, it seems like the perfect time to review changes to the 2024-2025 FAFSA that will help you maximize financial aid -and your time filling out the forms!
Who should file the FAFSA?
One thing that has not changed about the FAFSA is that any current high school senior who plans to attend college in the fall and any current college students should still file the FAFSA. As a reminder, the FAFSA gathers information about your financial needs so your student can be offered work-study, grants, and student loans. All colleges and universities will want the FAFSA from your student as part of their application. Some scholarships may even require the form to be completed. The money and aid is limited – and often on a first-come, first-serve basis so it’s in your benefit to file the FAFSA as soon as you can.
Changes to the 2024-2025 FAFSA
While we’re still waiting for the new application to be released, the Department of Education has stated that the application will be shorter and less complicated than ever before. The 110 questions have now been reduced to about 40. That’s a huge change! Many families avoid applying for financial aid via the FAFSA because the application has been confusing and long. With that problem hopefully eliminated, I encourage all families to apply for financial aid… even if they think they may not be eligible.
Another big change to the FAFSA is that it will now be available in 11 languages, including Russian, Arabic, and Vietnamese. Previously, the application was only available in Spanish and English. This will make it easier for all families to complete the FAFSA and maximize their financial aid. Finally, the Department of Education has waived the drug conviction questions and the requirement to sign up for selective service.
How do I prepare for the FAFSA?
Until the application opens this month, all families can do is get prepared. Gather financial documents, review our guide to completing the FAFSA, and make sure your list of colleges is complete. Once the application opens, sit down and complete it quickly and accurately as soon as you can. After your application is submitted, be patient with your colleges and their financial aid offices. The colleges and universities cannot access the applications for 30 days and then have to create packages for potential students. Their timelines are also going to be impacted this year – so be patient and give them grace.
If you have any questions about how to complete the FAFSA or your family’s specific financial situation, reach out to Jodi at College Financial Aid Advisors. Don’t delay – as that only makes the process more stressful for everyone involved! Good luck!
More about Jodi and College Financial Aid Advisors
Jodi is a FAFSA financial advisor who helps with the financial aid process to help families of college students maximize their financial aid. From completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options, Jodi is a fantastic resource when it comes to student financial aid. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.