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FAFSA Changes May Ease Application Process

todaySeptember 28, 2015 5

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Shania Waugh
News Reporter

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Photo by Dylan Lochridge-Fletcher

A majority of students apply for Federal Financial Aid annually in order to pay their way through college. Approximately 22 million FAFSA applications are processed each year. FAFSA is a program that gives billions of dollars to aspiring students, so the dream of going to college for those that crave to further their education, becomes a reality.

Federal Student Aid is responsible for managing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title FOUR of the Higher Education Act of 19-65. FAFSA provides financial support through loans, grants, scholarship, and work study programs. Texas State Student, Brian Ukaegbu says FAFSA has made some new improvements.

“I believe that FAFSA is a great resource for all students throughout the United States,” Ukaegbu  said. “It helps those who are unable to support themselves financially. It allows those to attend school and become assets to the nation.”

Although the FAFSA program has been around for decades, the system is still implementing improvements today. With the previous system, filing taxes became available in January with the deadline being in April. Students have faced the issue of applying for federal aid before their parents or guardians filed their tax returns.

This issue resulted in errors likely due to the information students provide being considered incomplete. Ukaegbu believes the new changes will help students dodge the errors they once faced.

“The new revisions will help those students whose parents and or other factors are not allowing them to have a fair chance in receiving financial aid, but this is definitely a start for FAFSA making it equal for all students who’d like to attend college but can’t afford it,” Ukaegbu  said. “There’s many factors that come into place with one’s financial status. With my own experience with FAFSA, I am guessing that they saw I had a high income in my household. It looks like I am set for college, it looks like I am ready to pay off all of my debts, but in reality I’m actually struggling. ”

FAFSA will be making revisions to the current system by allowing students to apply in October, three months before the original date applicants were given in the past. Not only will FAFSA be giving more time to families who plan to apply,  FAFSA will also allow students to use their parent’s previous year tax return information to apply.

These new changes will not only make it easier for the student, parents or guardians, but also for the workers in universities financial aid office. Christopher Murr, director of Financial Aid and Scholarships for Texas State believes that the changes to the system are a great improvement.

“The changes to the system itself will make it easier for the students who will be able to apply earlier in October,” Murr said.

Brian Ukaegbu finishes by saying that the new improvements will lead to more opportunities for students.

“It will definitely open doors for many students who face that problem. It may not be their fault,” Ukaegbu  said. “There’s parents out there who are handling a bunch of other things and simply don’t have time to file those taxes. There’s definitely life time crisis and all of these other things that prevent them from doing so. It will definitely provide a chance for those students who seek financial aid but can’t do it due to the fact that taxes are not filed in time.”

According to The U.S. Department of Education, by having FAFSA available earlier, the financial aid process will generally coincide with the college admissions application and decision cycle, hopefully allowing schools and states to provide financial aid information sooner to students and families. The Obama Administration will apply these changes in the Fall of 2016.

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