The federal government announced Jan. 1 will no longer be the time when students can begin filing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Changes to the FAFSA process will take effect this year.
The government hopes to makes the FAFSA easier for students by simplifying some of the questions and changing the date the online application opens. However, the changes don’t affect the FAFSA process for this school year.
Kanya Stewart, media relations coordinator for Florida A&M University, said the FAMU financial aid department will prepare for the changes. The department bases its financial aid policies around the needs of its students. Stewart agreed the school will need to analyze and improve the current process.
“We will strategize and review our business processes for timely delivery of financial aid,” Stewart said.
According to the United States Department of Education, the improved FAFSA application will open in October 2016 instead of January 2017. The department hopes the changes will give incoming college students more time to consider colleges and compare expenses.
The new FAFSA would use the tax filings from the previous year, instead of the current year. Stewart said the changes will help parents and students choose the most affordable college.
“Students and parents will be able to make better informed decisions on where to apply and determine the true cost of attending college while taking available financial aid into account,” Stewart said.
Taylor Allen-Boswell, FAMU biology pre-med student at FAMU, said the changes are needed. Allen-Boswell receives financial aid, but said the FAFSA process hasn’t done enough to help students in need.
“I don’t think it's very fair to students because they don’t give anything back to the students,” Allen-Boswell said. “They help the students but not enough that the students don’t have to struggle with getting more funds to go to school.”
Jada Fertio, second-year FAMU biology student, said the changes allow more students to attend school. Fertio added that the financial aid she receives from the FAFSA is helping her pay for college.
“I would be stuck without it,” Fertio said. “It covers my full tuition.”
For more information visit https://fafsa.ed.gov.