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The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

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Government delays release of financial aid forms

The+Free+Application+for+Federal+Student+Aid+will+be+available+in+December+this+year+instead+of+on+Oct.+1+as+in+prior+years.
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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be available in December this year instead of on Oct. 1 as in prior years.

The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be available in December instead of October this year.

The FAFSA Simplification Act, which Congress passed in December 2020, will significantly change the FAFSA to make the form easier to fill out, according to Tara Carew, AACC’s director of financial aid. Carew said the changes took longer than the government expected, which caused the delay.

“This is … the biggest change that we’ve had to the FAFSA since they moved it to electronic format,” Carew said. “Due to the sheer number of changes, they’ve needed more time to get the FAFSA ready for launch.”

The application in the past has been available on Oct. 1.

The updated FAFSA will have 36 questions, instead of 108. The updates will increase the number of languages the FAFSA is available in from two to 11.

“If we are moving it from two languages to 11 languages, we’re going to reach more students,” Carew said. “So we’re very excited about it.”

Despite the delayed opening, FAFSA will not push back the June 30 application deadline.

“If it releases in December and students are still completing it in December or January or February, they’re still going to be completely fine,” Carew said. “There’s maybe a little bit [of a] heightened sense of urgency to get it done, but there’s still ample time.”

Carew said students should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible because state deadlines are earlier than federal due dates.

“A lot of those Maryland state scholarships and grants do have a March 1 deadline,” said Carew, who noted that students must fill out the FAFSA to apply for some state funding. “And even though we’ve had the delay, I would still encourage everyone to get their FAFSA done before March 1, just to make sure if there are state grants or programs that they’re eligible for that they’re meeting the timing component of that award as well.”

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