The FAFSA Process Is Changing. Here's What You Need to Know

"Every year, about 18 million families across the nation complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine their child’s eligibility for student financial aid, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, or NASFAA," Education Week reports.

"Typically, ambitious families have already filled out the form by now, as it usually becomes available in early October. But this year’s different.

The FAFSA is being overhauled as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, part of a federal appropriations measure passed in 2020. Despite the act’s name, the overhauling process appears not to have been very simple: The new form for the 2024-2025 school year is still not available to the public. The target for release is December 2023, but Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, has not given a precise date.

In the meantime, Education Week spoke to Jill Desjean, senior policy analyst at NASFAA, to learn more about the FAFSA, its evolution, what the new changes will mean for applicants, and how college counselors can advise families accordingly.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Beyond the current changes the FAFSA is undergoing, has it evolved much over the years?

Desjean: The FAFSA originated in the mid-1990s. The biggest change to it, before this current overhaul, was its move to an online version. That happened at least 10 years ago, around 2010. It’s still available in paper form, but moving it online made really big improvements. Mainly, it added the possibility of allowing counselors to guide students and families through the process of filling it out in real time."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 10/20/2023

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