Updated: Oct 30, 2022
From National Public Radio
Attention college-bound students: Do you want FREE federal money to help you pay for college? Friday, October 1, was the first day to apply for aid for the 2023-2024 school year.
For millions of students, the federal application for student aid (or FAFSA) is the first step in unlocking grants, scholarships and loans to help pay for their education. Even if you or someone in your family is toying with the idea of college next year, there are benefits to filling out this form. There are also a few changes coming. For example, students who previously had a prior drug conviction — or male students who failed to register for selective service — would be disqualified from federal student aid. That is no longer the case. Though they're still on the form, those questions will no longer disqualify students from free money, like Pell Grants, or from federal student loans.
This is the first in many new changes coming to the FAFSA, courtesy of recent federal legislation meant to make the form more equitable and easier to fill out. Hopefully, a simplified FAFSA will help more students get money to pay for college.
Another change (but not to the application): The number of students applying for aid is changing. Throughout the pandemic, we saw far fewer students filling the form out. For the high school seniors of 2020 — the first class to graduate during the COVID pandemic — FAFSA completion was down 3.7%, according to the FAFSA Tracker from the National College Attainment Network. High schoolers who graduated in 2021 had even fewer students filled out the FAFSA. Numbers were lower at high-poverty schools and schools with large numbers of black and Hispanic students.
Low FAFSA numbers can mean fewer people going to college, so now that so many high schools are back in person, experts say we need to focus on getting students to complete this key form if we want to see more students go to college. Do you know someone thinking about filling out the form? We put together a guide with help from the Life Kit podcast. Listen here.
— Elissa Nadworny, Higher Education Correspondent Listen to the story: https://www.npr.org/2021/10/01/1042209272/fafsa-applications-are-open-with-some-big-changes https://www.npr.org/2021/02/03/962859863/-como-lleno-la-solicitud-de-fafsa-una-guia-bilingue Another story: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2021/09/27/fafsa-financial-aid-college