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FAFSA 2023: What Families Should Know About the Upcoming College Aid Form

There will be a new, easier-to-fill-out FAFSA form for the 2024–2025 school year on or before December 31, 2023.

By Newsd
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FAFSA 2023

FAFSA 2023: A lot of families depend on financial aid to help them pay for college. But before they can get any help, students must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA has also been delayed a lot this year.

There will be a new, easier-to-fill-out FAFSA form for the 2024–2025 school year on or before December 31, 2023. This is up to three months later than earlier years. (The Education Department said that next year the school year will begin on October 1.)

It’s funny that they’re changing the FAFSA to make it easier and simpler, but that’s made things worse, said Mary Morris, CEO of Virginia529, one of the biggest 529 plans in the country. Couples and families going through the process find the new formula and the wait “intimidating, scary, and annoying.”

The FAFSA is the way to get all government aid money, such as grants, loans, and work study. Grants and loans that don’t need to be paid back are the best types of aid because they save students money.

Most of the time, high school grads who don’t fill out the FAFSA miss out on billions of dollars in government grants.

A lot of families don’t even try to apply for financial help because they think they won’t be able to get it. Others say that an application that is too long and hard to understand is a big problem.

The plan to make the FAFSA easier to fill out has been in the works for years. To speed up the process, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed in 2020. Finally, those changes are going to happen.

Why you should fill out the FAFSA early

Rick Castellano, a spokesman for Sallie Mae, says that even though there is a delay, students should still finish the FAFSA as soon as they can.

Families have a better chance of getting help if they fill out the form as soon as possible, since some types of aid are given out on a first-come, first-served basis or from programs with limited funds.

Castellano said that there might be technical problems when the new form finally goes online, especially if a lot of people try to use it at the same time. He also said that shouldn’t stop families from filling out the FAFSA in the days that follow.

Kids and their families should do what they need to do to file as soon as possible, even though things might go wrong along the way.

There are some changes to the new FAFSA

Not only is the deadline different, but the easier form now also uses something called the “Student Aid Index” to figure out how much a family can pay.

In the past, how much help students get was based on more than just their income. These factors included the number of people living in the family, the number of children in college, and other financial obligations like child support or a home equity loan.

Right now, the method gets federal tax information straight from the IRS, which cuts the list of questions from 108 to less than 50.

From now on, the Department of Education will not give families a discount if they have more than one kid in college at the same time. This will end the “sibling discount.”

“Getting rid of the multiple student adjustment is one of the many tectonic changes under FAFSA simplification that will take full effect beginning with the 2024-2025 academic year,” Kalman Chany, a financial aid consultant and author of “Paying for College” for The Princeton Review, told CNBC not long ago.

Thus far, “the multiple student adjustment has been the single most important data element affecting one’s eligibility for federal student aid,” Chany explained.

On the other hand, the new FAFSA will raise the family income limit, which will allow more students to get government help based on their need.

Mark Kantrowitz, an expert on higher education, says that more than half a million more students will be able to get a Pell Grant, which is a type of help for students from low-income families. And of those who are eligible, more than 1.5 million will get the most money.

The most a Pell Grant recipient can get right now is $7,395.

Kantrowitz says that under the new method, more students will be able to get government grants, but some students, probably those with more money, will miss out on the sibling deal.

What pupils can do right now to get ready

The Federal Student Aid Estimator can give you an early idea of how much federal student aid you might get after you fill out the new form. This can help students who feel stressed about having to apply to college without knowing how much it will cost them.

“Get your financial house in order,” Virginia529’s Morris suggested, to make the process of figuring out your student aid easier. Families and students should print out their tax forms and make a StudentAid.gov account with a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. You will need these to enter and view your information online.

Then, follow Federal Student Aid on social media to find out about upcoming events and get a notification when the new FAFSA form is ready to be filled out.

You can also look at websites like Scholarships.com and the College Board to find other sources of merit-based help at this time, Morris said.

Kantrowitz says that there are more than 1.7 million private grants and fellowships worth a total of more than $7.4 billion. These are usually funded by foundations, companies, and other independent groups.

Lastly, there are a lot of free tools that can help families understand how to use the new FAFSA. Morris said, “Understand that help is out there, and don’t give up.” “In the end, it will be worth it.”


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