The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) has a reputation for being a little intimidating and difficult to fill out. But yesterday, President Obama announced some exciting changes to the FAFSA process:
Ask recent graduates how they feel about filling out the FAFSA and you’ll probably get eye-rolls and groans. The current form is 105 questions long, and not all of those questions are easy to answer. As a senior in high school you might not have even filed your own taxes before, and now you’re answering over 100 questions on things like adjusted family income. Accidentally leave a response blank, and you won’t be able to submit the form. Make a mistake on the FAFSA, and you might be going back and forth with the Financial Aid office several times. And currently, you have to wait until January to complete it for the following school year (sorry go-getters).
But now we’ll be looking at a shorter and more streamlined FAFSA process, taking only about 20 minutes(!!!) to complete. Additionally, starting next year you’ll be able to submit it in October for the following school year (go-getters rejoice!). Because of the earlier start, you’ll be able to use tax data from a year earlier than you could previously. Here’s how it all works out:
With all of these changes, students can expect to have better answers about their financial aid sooner and make a better informed decision on where to go to college.