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Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Student Media of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

Lindenlink

Nationwide FAFSA backup delaying financial aid

FAFSA+new+changes+delay+schools+around+the+country+from+applying+federal+aid+to+student+balances.
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FAFSA new changes delay schools around the country from applying federal aid to student balances.

New changes in how the FAFSA is set up will allow students to input more accurate information for financial aid, but issues with the changes are delaying schools around the U.S. from applying federal aid to student balances.

Assistant Vice President of Student Financial Services (SFS) Heather Shalley said the government has been trying to simplify the FAFSA for over the past 20 years. These changes caused the FAFSA for the 2024-2025 school year to be opened in Dec. rather than Oct. 

“[The federal government] was supposed to release the FAFSAs to us, but from my understanding, there was an error in some of their underlying assumptions and so about the time they decided to recalculate it, it also came up that they were gonna delay schools getting the FAFSA until probably another two or three weeks,” Shalley said.

Shalley said that before the 2024-2025 academic year, FAFSA submissions opened in Oct., and closed in Dec., with the information released to schools in Jan. This year, schools will receive FAFSA information by mid-March. 

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With registration for fall courses beginning March 15, Shalley said that issues with the 2024-2025 FAFSA do not put holds on students’ accounts for registration for fall 2024 classes. Any outstanding balances in a student’s account may put a hold on their account until the balance is paid or within a certain threshold. 

According to Shalley, one of the new changes to the FAFSA will allow students to input more accurate information for Expected Family Contributions.

“The idea and hopes that it would create a more realistic expectation for families because the [Expected Family Contribution] used to be an expected family contribution, but as we know, if it’s zero, that doesn’t mean the family doesn’t always pay zero, and if it said $10,000, it didn’t necessarily mean a family only had to pay $10,000,” Shalley said. “So, they took that into account after 20 years and decided that they were gonna make it more accurate and more of an index number instead of an actual expected accounting contribution number.”

Students needing assistance from SFS about the FAFSA should email [email protected] to book an appointment rather than stop in. Students should also bring federal identification with them to their set appointment time

“Right now we’re ‘pretty calm,’ but we know that as fast will start coming in more and more students are gonna call,” Shalley said. “I know I’ve personally, you know, set appointments up for myself to help students go through them.”

Shalley said that SFS recommends that students have their parents start filling out their FAFSA first and then send it back to the student through a link. Students also should not wait to complete the FAFSA before the deadline so SFS can assist them if any issues arise.

“I think ultimately this will be good for students, but I know 2024-2025 will be rough for every institution, so hang in there,” Shalley said. “The reality is, the financial aid people get into it because they wanna help students. As excited as we are, we’re also a little concerned about how we’re gonna be able to truly serve students to the level that we want. And so we do wanna make sure that we’re out there being proactive as possible.”

Shalley said that mostly federal money will be affected by the delay.

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Mallary Vasquez, Reporter
Mallary Vasquez is a Reporter for Lindenlink and a Senior at Lindenwood University. Mallary is majoring in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Journalism and pursuing minors in Digital Marketing and Digital Photography. This is her third year with Lindenlink. Outside of Lindenlink, Mallary is involved on-campus as the president of the Lindenwood University Society of Professional Journalists and Sigma Sigma Sigma. Off-campus, Mallary is a newborn photographer with Bella Baby Photography while also doing freelance photography.
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