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The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Changes made to FAFSA application

The federal government is significantly changing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a form completed by current and prospective college students to access federal financial aid. It is typically available for students in October but will now open in December as the government continues to shorten the application process.

Every year, nearly 13 million students submit the FAFSA and secure roughly $120 billion in grants from the Department of Education, according to the College Board. In previous years, however, many students experienced difficulty filling out the FAFSA, which was three times as long as the standard federal income tax form. It contained 108 questions about complex financial and tax records, such as information about mortgages, loans and credit cards.

“For example, if a student could not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, they would often have to supply an IRS Tax Return Transcript, which required them to have a mobile phone and a credit card, auto loan or mortgage in their own name,” said David Levy, a board member of the National Scholarship Providers Association.

Most colleges and universities in the United States require students asking for financial aid to fill out the FAFSA, which requires detailed knowledge of one’s family finances.

“I would not feel very confident filling out these forms because I rely on my parents to take care of anything related to finances,” Hope ‘24 said.

The streamlined version of the application will ask fewer questions and require less information, which Levy believes will make the application more accessible to students.

“It is still a complicated form, but the new FAFSA cuts the number of questions by about two-thirds,” Levy said. 

Another important change to the FAFSA is the elimination of the sibling loophole. In the previous federal formula, families with more than one child in college received a discount, and their expected contribution was cut in half. Levy said that this policy mostly benefited middle-income students with siblings in college.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA does away with this policy, a somewhat controversial change which may decrease financial aid for families with more than one child in college. According to the Brookings Institution, approximately 900,000 students with one sibling in college who stand to receive aid,may lose almost $3,000 each in institutional grant aid (totaling $2.5 billion). 

In order to help students navigate these changes, the college counseling deans are offering one-on-one meetings to the Class of 2024. Students and their parents have the opportunity to speak with Levy and ask questions about financial aid.

“I think it’s really important for students to have open conversations with parents about college affordability and financial aid,” Dean of College Counseling Monica DePriest said. “Students should also be mindful of admissions deadlines and financial deadlines in relation to each other.”

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Maya '24
Maya '24, Head Copy Editor
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