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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2

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The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2

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New FAFSA causes pushback of Financial Aid schedule

The+universitys+library+sits+near+Risman+Plaza+on+campus.+
Annemarie Karabinus
The university’s library sits near Risman Plaza on campus.

Editor’s note: After the publication of this story on Jan. 30, the U.S. Department of Education changed its original announcement, now saying students will be able to make corrections to their forms starting in the first half of March. The original date was early February. 

Major changes to the FAFSA have pushed back the university’s financial aid schedule. 

A soft release of the application went live Dec. 31, as opposed to its traditional October release date, which forced the university to push its FAFSA deadline back to March 1.

“What we’ve been doing is communicating with students on a regular basis to let them know that filling out the FAFSA as early as possible is always recommended,” said Sylvia Bustard, Director of Student Scholarships and Financial Aid.

The Department of Education reworked the application in response to the FAFSA Simplification Act. The act, which came into effect for the current 2023-2024 academic year, is meant to streamline the application process. 

The application has not been fully released. Federal Student Aid can pull the FAFSA off the website to fix any reported errors or bugs before re-publishing it. This is known as a soft release.

Despite the later-than-usual schedule, Bustard does not believe it will have a major impact on applicants.

“The only difference is that the current students are used to the old way,” she said. “They’re having a little bit of a different learning curve than our new students because this is the first time that they’ve ever done a FAFSA.”

Bustard added that she found freshmen are the least likely to be affected by changes to the FAFSA. 

“The incoming freshman class and their parents are more engaged and aware of what’s going on with the FAFSA,” she said. “They’re usually the ones that file the FAFSA sooner.” 

Many of the complaints Bustard received regarding the FAFSA have been linked to the soft release of the website.

“What we hear is ‘I can’t log in’ but we don’t know why they can’t log in,” she said. “They might have typed their in social security number or their address wrong or their email address wrong.”

The Department of Education reworked the application in response to the FAFSA Simplification Act. The act, which came into effect for the current 2023-2024 academic year, is meant to streamline the application process. 

The new document pulls information directly from the IRS with consent from the student and parents rather than asking for applicants to manually enter tax information. 

Additionally, anyone who provides information in the application will be considered a “contributor.” A contributor is defined by the new FAFSA as a person who is asked to provide information or consent in the application such as a parent, legal guardian, relative or other caretaker. Being listed as a contributor will not automatically make a person liable for the student.

Once completed, each student will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary highlighting federal financial aid eligibility.

According to the FAFSA website, an estimated 610,000 more students will be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant (financial aid package for those in serious need) to go along with an additional 1.5 million more being eligible for a maximum Pell Grant.

As of now, National College Acceptance Day remains May 1.

Michael Neenan is a beat reporter. Contact him at [email protected].



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About the Contributors
Michael Neenan, General Assignment Reporter
Michael is a senior journalism major with a public relations minor. He works as a reporter, covering topics from sports to university administration. Contact him at [email protected]
Annemarie Karabinus, Photographer, Opinion Writer
Annemarie is very involved in student media. From Kentwired, to TV2, to Black Squirrel Radio she does it all.

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