FASFA Says Goodbye to 108-Question Application: Financial Aid Made Accessible

  As college application season is rampant right now, comes with many stressors in this time, a few of which include essays/prompts/personal insight questions, college resumes,  and letters of recommendation. 

  With these stressors also comes the thought of, “How am I gonna pay for college?” Students often get stuck on this idea, because college can be expensive for families as some colleges cost over tens of thousands of dollars each year. These expenses can only go up if you go to a private college or a speciality college, and leaves many students/families in student loan debt for years.

  A huge part of the application season for US students who are documented residents is filling out the The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA is a form that every current and prospective college student fills out to see if they are eligible for any grants (both on the federal and state level), work-study funds and loans. This form is free to complete, and gives students the best opportunity to be able to get these forms of educational assistance to all students. 

  For the 2024-2025 FAFSA cycle, there are significant changes to the overall application that are there to help students, and make the overall process similar for families. 

  These changes are amazing for students and families and will take less of a burden, time commitment, and effort on everyone’s end to get proper financial aid opportunities for every student. 

  Usually, FAFSA opens in October. However, this application season will open in December this year to account for more testing of the application of FAFSA’s ends  and possible technology issues they are currently sorting out. The amount of questions has significantly shortened from 108 to 36. 

   The FAFSA also removed certain questions about Selective Service registration and drug convictions and added more demographic related questions such as your sex, race, and ethnicity. These questions will have no effect on the federal grants you may be able to receive. 

 According to CNBC, “Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act in 2020, which aims to reduce the number of questions on the application and make Pell Grants and other federal aid more accessible.”

  The biggest change for students whose parents have done the application in the past is the change between the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Student Aid Index (SAI).  There is no difference between EFC and SAI. It is only a simple name change to avoid potential confusion with families who fill the FAFSA out. Families were under the impression that it had meant that this was the amount they were supposed to pay, not how much financial aid a student may need to be set up successfully in college or a trade school program.  

  The FAFSA also is expanding the Pell Grant, a federal grant for students, allowing more possibilities for students who are in need of financial aid. 

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