“The latest college aid FAFSA form is now available. Here are 5 key things to understand.”

“Let’s see how the new FAFSA will affect the many students applying or already in college for the 2024-25 school year.”

Who is eligible to complete a FAFSA form?

Every student aspiring to pursue higher education or a trade should complete the FAFSA application. The federal government utilizes the FAFSA to assess eligibility for grants, work-study opportunities, and loans. Additionally, many states and educational institutions use the form to distribute scholarships.

While students are ultimately responsible for completing the FAFSA, those who are dependents will require their parents’ financial information for the process. With the family’s consent, the Education Department can securely access tax information from the Internal Revenue Service through a simplified data transfer facilitated by a law known as the FUTURE Act.

How can I fill out the FAFSA?

“The Education Department initiated a phased implementation of changes to the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) starting in the 2021-22 award year. Initial modifications included the removal of certain requirements, such as the selective service registration and restrictions related to drug convictions, aiming to simplify the federal aid qualification process. Subsequent changes in the following year focused on streamlining the application process for homeless and foster youth and lifting the Pell Grant ban for incarcerated individuals.

In the current academic year, more significant alterations have been introduced. The FAFSA form has been shortened, with some applicants now required to answer only 18 questions instead of the previous 103. A new metric, the Student Aid Index (SAI), has been implemented to assess a student’s financial capacity for college and determine their eligible aid amount, replacing the previous Expected Family Contribution.

While the SAI still estimates a family’s ability to pay based on income and assets, there are notable differences. Unlike the former system, where the lowest estimated contribution was zero, the SAI may result in a negative number. Additionally, the new index no longer considers the number of children in college, potentially putting families with multiple tuition bills at a disadvantage. Furthermore, families are now required to report the value of their family farm or small business.

On a positive note, more of a student and family’s income is now protected from the formula used to calculate their contribution to college costs. The protected amounts will increase annually for parents, dependent students, and students with their own children, adjusted for inflation.”

The new change will help more students get the federal Pell Grant, which is money for college. This grant is for students who really need financial help. About 2.1 million students who couldn’t get this grant before might now be able to.

If a student’s family doesn’t have much money (below the poverty level), they will automatically get the most money from the Pell Grant. If a student has their own kids and doesn’t earn a lot (less than 225% of the poverty line), they can qualify. If a student depends on their parents and their parents don’t earn much (less than 175% of the poverty line), they can also qualify. Overall, more than 5.2 million students could now get the full Pell Grant, which is an increase of about 1.5 million students, according to the Education Department

How do I complete the FAFSA?

Students can fill out the form online at fafsa.gov or use the paper version and mail it to the Education Department. If you need to fill out a part of the FAFSA, like a student or parent, you have to make your own ID and password on the Federal Student Aid website. When using the online FAFSA, students can list up to 20 schools, while the paper form allows for only 10 schools

What is the deadline for the application?

Certainly! “You need to send in your 2024-25 FAFSA by June 30, 2025, to meet the federal deadline.”

The Education Department emphasizes that there is no urgency in completing the college aid application as they gradually release the form to address and resolve any system issues. Results will not be transmitted to schools until later in January.

Nevertheless, it is advisable to fill out the form promptly since funds are limited. Early submissions also enhance the likelihood of securing state and institutional scholarships, as certain states and schools have early deadlines for their grants.

Need More Information

For more information about the FAFSA, visit fafsa.gov.

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