The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

The award-winning newspaper of Anne Arundel Community College.

Campus Current

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FAFSA to open in late December

The+Free+Application+for+Federal+Student+Aid+will+open+in+December+instead+of+October+this+year+for+students+applying+for+financial+assistance.
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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will open in December instead of October this year for students applying for financial assistance.

The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid will open by Dec. 31 this year, three months later than the usual Oct. 1 opening.

The Department of Education is making significant changes to the FAFSA to streamline the application process, causing the delay, according to Caryn Rose, assistant director of AACC’s Financial Aid Office.

“The intended outcome is to make this faster, smoother and more seamless for applicants so that more students will still apply,” Rose said. “New challenges will be presented, but I do feel that overall … this is a noticeable change that will hopefully help as many more people get access to the resources.”

Any student seeking financial aid, like grants, loans, work/study positions and some scholarships, must fill out the FAFSA. The updated form will have 36 questions, down from 108, and will be available in 11 languages, instead of two. Additionally, the formula for calculating student aid eligibility will change.

“They’re moving to a new formula,” Rose said. “Eligibility for [financial aid] will be increased nationwide.”

Rose said the delay will not significantly change AACC’s financial aid timeline.

“We should be able to access the data sometime late January,” Rose said. “We will be making communications to students, you know, as early as March. … Given that there’s no further delays by the Department of Ed, we’re on track to our usual schedule.”

The changes aren’t all positive: Rose noted the updated FAFSA will no longer give increased financial aid to families with multiple kids in college.

“That has been removed from the federal formula,” Rose said. “Students and families will be impacted by that for sure.”

Despite that, Rose said, “It’s definitely worth it” for every student to fill out the FAFSA, and the changes will “help more families than it may hurt.”

“It is the No. 1 tool for awarding, you know, financial aid and resources to students,” Rose said. “No one should count themselves out.”

Rose advised students to go ahead and create Federal Student Aid IDs so they’re ready as soon as the FAFSA opens.

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