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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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WYSK: Changes with FAFSA

As of January 2024, the U.S. Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will not be received by schools until March. FAFSA’s Simplification and FUTURE Acts, passed in December 2020 and December 2019, respectively, changed the FAFSA’s current format. These acts were fully put into effect in December 2023, which delayed the release of the application from October, when it is typically released, to Dec. 31.

What’s new about this FAFSA?

According to St. Joe’s website, the new FAFSA makes the financial aid process and eligibility for Federal Pell grants more predictable for low-income students, reduces the number of FAFSA form questions, streamlines the calculation of financial need, expands federal aid eligibility for specific populations and improves educational outcomes for low-income students.

Elizabeth Rihl Lewinsky, assistant vice president for the office of financial aid, said the new FAFSA is meant to be easier to navigate than its predecessor.

“In 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act was passed, making it easier for students and their families to apply for federal financial aid by significantly reducing the number of questions on the FAFSA form,” Lewinsky said. “This legislation and the passage of the FUTURE Act have necessitated many changes to how financial aid offices process aid and counsel students/families.”

Was St. Joe’s aware that there would be a delay in receiving FAFSA applicant information?

St. Joe’s was aware that the 2024-2025 FAFSA applications would be received at a later date than in the past since FAFSA was opening late, but the exact date was not specified. It was not until Dec. 15 that the U.S. Department of Education notified schools they would open the FAFSA at the end of December.

The U.S. Department of Education said Jan. 30 they would begin transmitting FAFSA data to universities in the first half of March, later than originally thought.

“This significant delay was not expected,” Lewinsky said.

When does St. Joe’s expect to receive FAFSA information from incoming and current students?

The Office of Financial Aid is set to begin receiving FAFSA information from the U.S. Department of Education in March, according to communication received Jan. 30. Once this information is received, they expect to begin going through it right away.

The exact release date of this information is still unknown.

How will this delay in applicant information affect incoming students’ financial aid packages?

Incoming students will be the group most impacted by the delayed filing of FAFSA applications. While accepted students typically receive merit scholarships when admitted and aid packages in December, the Office of Financial Aid anticipates the release of new student aid packages will be delayed until late March or early April.

“We are currently exploring options on how to best provide estimated aid information in the interim to prospective students and their families so they have sufficient time to make an informed college choice,” Lewinsky said.

How will this delay affect current students’ financial aid?

The university currently does not expect any delays in the arrival of 2024-2025 financial aid packages.

Lewinksy said currently enrolled students receiving their 2024-25 financial aid packages will receive them as usual in early June after spring grades are posted.

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Savannah Warner
Savannah Warner, Assistant News Editor
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