If you are a college student taking out student loans in any capacity, you might have heard through the grapevine that the FAFSA form will be going through some significant changes this year. But it might be difficult to navigate what these changes could mean for you and whether or not you’ll be affected positively, negatively, or at all.
The first big change is that the FAFSA form will be released much later this year than in previous ones - December 2023 instead of on October 1st as it always used to be. This change may make it a little more difficult for some students to meet their state deadlines for the FAFSA. Not all states have pushed this deadline back as many states distribute aid on a first-come-first-served basis.
Another big change that may affect some borrowers is the elimination of considering having siblings in college at the same time during the application process. The FAFSA will no longer weigh having siblings in college as a parameter when considering aid amounts. The FAFSA’s calculation system was updated to expand eligibility for aid overall, but this change also may negatively affect students with multiple siblings in college.
As a Ph.D. student who is taking out a nominal amount of loans in order to support my studies and my small assistantship stipend, I know firsthand that changes to the FAFSA system can initially be a shock and can cause some uneasy feelings. As students, many of us depend on these loans to live and to have a marginal amount of comfort as we obtain our degrees. It is important for us to educate ourselves on the changes that are being made on the national level, not only when it comes to student debt relief but also when it comes to the FAFSA. Understanding the system is the first step in participating in changing it.
Will these changes to the FAFSA form affect you for the 2024-2025 academic year? If so, will they help or hurt you? Sound off in the comments below.