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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Major changes to FAFSA will affect millions of students

Two changes will make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process easier: an opportunity to apply earlier and a simpler application.

President Barack Obama announced that starting 2016, students can apply for the FAFSA in October rather than January.

The purpose, as the White House describes, is to allow students and their families the peace of mind of knowing how much financial aid the student will receive and “to determine the true cost of attending college.”

“I feel like this would be very helpful (for) those of us who depend heavily on the aid,” communication sciences and disorders freshman Kourtney Greene said.

According to FAFSA, Obama’s change will “impact millions of students.”

To explain the new process, this change will be made available beginning October 2016 for the following 2017-2018 school year. Students will input 2015 tax information allowing the IRS verification process to be more efficient than previous years.

Deputy director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council James Kvaal, said this change will encourage more students to apply for Pell Grants and loans.

“We anticipate there may be a little more work for colleges to do to adjust financial aid packages,” Kvaal said during a Time magazine interview. “But overall, we believe that the earlier tax data is a sound basis for awarding federal student aid.”

On the other hand, aerospace engineer junior Aaron Smith finds this problematic. He said he feels that although imputing 2015 tax information may be great for students, it will hinder families or individuals with inconsistent incomes.

During this announcement in Des Moines, Iowa, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced a simplification of FAFSA to further ease the pressure for students and families.

This change involves eliminating up to 30 questions that are “disproportionately burdensome and have little impact on aid eligibility,” according to the White House.

Some of the questions proposed are information about the applicant’s assets, savings, investments and net worth. The answers to the questions take a while to verify and represent extraneous non-IRS data.

Duncan said filling out FAFSA will take only 20 minutes to complete as compared to the previous process where “you almost had to have a degree in accounting to complete” as he said during the town hall meeting.

This change is being battled in Congress.

“We’re not done,” Duncan said. “We want Congress to continue to work to simplify the form even further.”

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