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College access coaches prepare students and families for the 2024-2025 FAFSA

Graphic Of Illustrated Person’s Arms Holding Up A Sign Saying “FAFSA Changes For 2024-2025”

As we enter December, students and families are eagerly anticipating the release of the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The revamped FAFSA promises a more user-friendly and accessible process for those seeking financial assistance for higher education.

Simplifying the FAFSA process

The new FAFSA form represents substantial improvements, redefining how students and their families interact with the application. A noteworthy change is the introduction of a secure method for direct transfer of federal tax information from the IRS, eliminating the previously confusing step of connecting to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The changes will greatly simplify the process of submitting tax information for as many as 4 million additional students and families, many of whom are from low-income backgrounds.

Beginning with the 2024-2025 award year, the improved form incorporates updates to student aid calculations and expanding Federal Pell Grants to more students. Pell Grant eligibility will now be tied to family size and the federal poverty level, marking a pivotal shift that significantly broadens access to federal student aid. According to the Department of Education, as a result of these eligibility rule changes, an estimated “610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds will receive Pell Grants.” Additionally, Pell Grant recipients will benefit from increased aid, and “nearly 1.5 million more students will receive the maximum Pell Grant” (Federal Student Aid, 2023).

How the college access team is preparing students and families

In preparation for the upcoming launch of the 2024-2025 FAFSA, our college access team has devised an initiative. Coaches and leadership team members are actively assisting students and their families in creating their FSA IDs in advance, aiming to alleviate potential challenges associated with completing the new FAFSA. Alongside FSA ID creation assistance, the college access team has developed an FSA ID login reminder worksheet. This tool enables students to document their and their contributors’ FSA ID login details, which will be securely stored in Salesforce. The intent is to streamline the process for the students we serve, making it easier for them to retrieve and input their information accurately when completing the FAFSA.

To enhance students’ understanding of the upcoming changes to the FAFSA, access coaches are sharing informative videos created by the office of Federal Student Aid. These videos cover what the new FAFSA will entail, how to identify contributors, and the process of creating FSA IDs. The office of Federal Student Aid has also designed a FAFSA prototype that allows users to navigate through scenarios commonly encountered on the live website. During group sessions, access coaches share the prototype with students, providing a practical view of the new FAFSA from both the student and parent perspectives. While the prototype is not a full demo application, it proves highly beneficial in illustrating the upcoming FAFSA experience.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is expected to be available for filing by December 31, 2023. When it opens, College Possible students will be well prepared thanks to the team of coaches who support them.

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