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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Columns

Hot Topic: FAFSA changes for upcoming year


Applying for financial aid next year is about to get easier with the government’s implementation of two new rules.

The changes will give students more options and time to decide what they want to do in regard to financial assistance. Students can submit their application on Oct. 1 instead of Jan. 1 and use their tax return from up to two years prior when filling out their FAFSA.

For this week’s “Hot Topic,” the opinion desk will discuss if we think the new rules do enough to make a difference. If not, what should be changed?

Senior staff columnist Caprice Carter

FAFSA changes will be convenient for those who want an early start on applying for financial aid and the people who will receive more money by applying with the previous years’ tax returns.

But it won’t make much of a difference.

One change that the government should consider is allowing students under 25 years of age to apply independently of their parents.

Some students depend on work and financial aid to pay their tuition without parental income maybe simply because they lack the means. To be forced to add parents to a financial aid form, whether you live with them, should not be required.

Senior staff columnist Jorden Smith

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Every government form in existence is not made or meant to be simple and time-efficient to fill out.

While these two changes are meant to do otherwise, one will somewhat make a difference. To change the FAFSA form submission date does nothing to address how complicated and lengthy the process is. Deadline is still the deadline.

Along with that, it doesn’t make much sense to open the submission process a month and a half into the preceding school year.

Allowing you to use last year’s tax returns on FAFSA will make life a lot easier. You will no longer have to do your tax returns before you need to, which is probably the most difficult part of FAFSA.

Of course, some would argue that making FAFSA easier will in turn make college more expensive, but that’s another column for another day.

Assistant opinion editor Thom Dwyer

As a person who has never received any FAFSA aid, I am skeptical of the changes that are being made and whether they will actually make a difference in disbursing aid.

I think the main goal of these changes is to entice more students to apply for FAFSA. However, I do like the idea of early applications that can lead to people getting “first come, first serve” financial aid. That way, the money can go to people who are on top of things.

Although I do not have high hopes for the changes made to the program, I do wish that they make a difference for the sake of college kids who are not destitute and do not want to take out loans.

“Hot Topic” contributors can be reached at [email protected]

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