I was happy to share my advice on the FAFSA with education writer Sarah Wood for her article on upcoming changes to the 2023-2024 FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly called the FAFSA, opened October 1 with a few tweaks to financial information questions.
My take of the FAFSA as quoted by Sarah was:
“I tell all my families, no matter what their income level is, you must have the FAFSA on file. Because even if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, submitting the FAFSA and the CSS Profile is how you get in line for merit scholarship opportunities,” says Charlotte M. Klaar, director of Klaar College Consulting, LLC, a career and college preparation service.
I want to emphasize that this applies to some colleges and not at others. The primary reason that everyone should have a FAFSA on file is to protect yourself against a catastrophic change in the family’s financial status. I also tell families to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible, because money is given on a first-come-first-served basis.
The 2023–24 FAFSA changes include removing the Selective Service and drug conviction eligibility questions. These questions – which were featured up through the 2022-2023 form, but no longer taken into consideration – were removed entirely this year. I told Sarah I agreed with removing the drug question, and here’s what she wrote:
“Kids can be kids and they do things that sometimes they are not going to do as adults,” Klaar says. “I think holding a student responsible forever and not allowing them to be able to access financial aid because they made a mistake is wrong. We need to give people the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves.”
The gender identification question was also removed. from the FAFSA.
Read the complete article here.
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