NASFAA Tip Sheets Help Unique Student Populations Navigate Financial Aid Application Process

With the next FAFSA cycle quickly approaching, some students may still face difficulties despite recent improvements to the application process.

September 10, 2018 –– As a new school year kicks off, college students and parents across the country will soon be thinking about applying for next year’s financial aid, as the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, cycle begins on October 1. But while the U.S. Department of Education has recently taken steps to improve and streamline the application process, certain student populations may still face unique obstacles when applying for federal aid.

Although many college students are young adults enrolling in college for the first time and have their parents to help them navigate the process, a growing population of students with unique circumstances—such as adult learners, undocumented students, refugee and asylee students, military servicemembers and veterans, and foster youth—may lack that extra support and guidance. Despite improvements to the financial aid process, such as the addition of a mobile FAFSA app and a mobile-optimized website, students in different situations may be required to answer additional—and at times challenging—questions on the FAFSA that many others do not.

Newly published tip sheets from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) are designed to help these unique student populations overcome challenges to successfully navigate the financial aid process and access higher education. They are also valuable resources for higher education advocates that support these populations of students, including high school guidance counselors, college and university admissions staff, community organizations, and more.

“Maneuvering the financial aid application process can be challenging even for students with more channels of support,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger. “Even so, no student should be driven away from the financial support they need because they don’t know how to answer a question on a form. NASFAA members in financial aid offices nationwide are ready and available to help educate students and parents about their options and ensure they have every opportunity to obtain the financial assistance they need to access a higher education.”

NASFAA policy experts and financial aid administrators can discuss the challenges unique student populations face, and how to best serve them in your area. For more information, contact us at 202-785-6959 or [email protected] to set up an interview.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents more than 20,000 financial aid professionals at nearly 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every 10 undergraduates in the United States. Based in Washington, D.C., NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit

Publication Date: 9/10/2018

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