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Financial Aid changes 打 and 10 Scholarships you can apply to now!

Don't wait, let's get to the $$$

Sooo, there is a lot going on with financial aid

Feeling overwhelmed with all the changes happening to the FAFSA lately? Thats real. But don't sweat itwe've got all the deets and were here to help!

We've gathered the latest and most accurate info you need! And guess what? We've also put together a list of scholarships you can apply to as early as this week! Yep, thats right! For FAFSA, continue reading on! For Washington State undocumented students, click below for all you need to know about changes to the WASFA:

Recap:
The new 2024-2025 FAFSA form, also known as Better FAFSA, went live on December 30, 2023, and underwent some changes with the goal of making it more efficient . Here are some changes:

  • The form now requires all contributors (student, parents, or spouse depending on dependency status) to create a StudentAid.gov account to access and complete their section of the FAFSA form.

  • The number of questions asked in the form have gone from about 118 questions from the original form to about 36 questions in the new form.

  • Students and contributors must consent for IRS tax information to be pulled to be eligible for aid.

  • Students can list up to 20 colleges, compared to 10 in the original version.

Newest Updates with Time Stamps: Stay Updated

  • February 27, 2024: The U.S. Department of Education announced an update about its FAFSA formula to expand even more aid eligibility, resulting in 7.3 million students expected to be eligible for Pell Grants. This will not impact the departments timeline to send completed applications to schools in the first half of March. Since the launch of the new form, more than 4.7 million forms have been successfully submitted.

  • February 23, 2024: Each of Washington States public four-year institutions has extended the College Decision Day to June 1, 2024. 

  • February 21, 2024: The Federal Student Aid Office is providing a temporary 9-step workaround with detailed instructions on how to submit the form if your parent or spouse doesnt have an SSN. This workaround allows students affected by this issue who need to meet state and institutional aid or scholarship deadlines to submit an incomplete FAFSA form before the issue is fully resolved.

    • If one of your parents has an SSN and the other parent doesnt have an SSN, do not follow the instructions above. Instead, start your FAFSA form and invite only the parent who has an SSN and follow these steps.

    • IMPORTANT: Following either of these instructions will result in an incomplete FAFSA submission that must be corrected as soon as it becomes available. We would recommend waiting to submit if you dont have a critical deadline to meet until FSA has fixed online access issues for contributors without SSNs or you hear updated guidance with recommendations on how to submit.

  • January 30, 2024: The U.S. Department of Education announced that it was changing its Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation formula, taking inflation into account by law, thus providing an additional $1.8 billion in aid for students nationwide. Colleges and universities may receive students FAFSA data until the first half of March, six weeks later than expected, resulting in financial aid award offers being delayed until early to mid-April. 

Resources for Students

  • A great way to get your FAFSA questions answered is by the Federal Student Aid YouTube channel, where they are actively posting new videos that explain every new FAFSA question and how to answer them.

  • As they continue to roll-out updates and you encounter any issues with the form, refer to 202425 FAFSA Issue Alerts, a running list of issues, workarounds, and resolved matters.

  • While the traditional deadline to commit to colleges and universities is May 1, some institutions may push it back this year or provide extensions on a case-by-case basis to accommodate the delays that the FAFSA has brought. Reach out to your college(s) and be sure to check in frequently to learn if any deadlines have been adjusted. 

    • Nationwide Students: Look for your college(s) by state and their new deadlines in this nationwide list U.S Colleges with New Enrollment Deadlines 2024

    • Washington State Students: While WA public four-year institutions have adjusted their deadline to June 1st, stay updated with this running list of Washington State institutions and their deadlines: 2024-2025 College Deadlines.

  • For students considered homeless or foster care status, refer to SchoolHouse Connection for information and resources. 

  • In order to help determine if your parent(s) is a contributor, refer to this infographic. 

Tips for Students and Parents or Spouse

  • Paper Application: 

    • We recommend using it if you will be missing a specific deadline, as the Department of Education will use the date they received it. However, it won't be processed until all the applications are processed first, meaning that this may delay your ability to make any corrections to your FAFSA and delay when you receive financial aid award letters from colleges. 

    • If you go with this route, do not follow-up with an online application. 

  • Contacting the U.S. Department of Education:

    • We hear the best way of contacting them is via email. We recommend avoiding calling, as students have experienced long wait times and inconsistency. You can find their email when you access your FSA ID.

  • FSA ID Creation: 

    • When inviting parents or a spouse to create a StudentAid.gov account, youll need their SSN, email, and birthdate. 

    • The matching system is extremely sensitive, so ensure you spell everything the exact same way it was entered by the student and that there are no extra spaces before or after a name or the street address. If these are not written exactly the same, it can create issues. This can happen when using auto-fill, so try manually filling out the info or if using auto-fill, ensure there are no spaces left after the names or street addresses. 

      • Address example: 

        • 123 First Street'' but they wrote 123 1st Street in the form, this may present an issue. 

      • Name example: 

        • Amber" but they left a space after the name Amber    in the form, this may present an issue.

    • If parents or spouse are creating their FSA ID, and encounter errors that the information does not match the info the student provided, try using all caps as a workaround. We hear this has worked for many people. 

Upcoming Scholarships for Students

With all the uncertainties surrounding the new FAFSA, scholarships offer an amazing opportunity for you right now. Weve compiled a list of 10 scholarships due between mid-March to mid-April that you can start applying to now! Why wait to start securing funding for your schooling? Visit our Scholarship Bank to see the rest of the 10 scholarships in our Featured Scholarships section. 

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Dont give up! We understand these changes may cause a lot of uncertainty. While it might be late, you will eventually receive financial aid money to pursue your dreams. There are plenty of other ways to go to school debt-free, via applying to separate merit-based grants or scholarships, and that is what we are here for! You can find over thousands of dollars worth of scholarships in our Scholarship Bank!


What additional questions do you have? We would love to hear from you and your experience with the new FAFSA. Email us at [email protected]

Your #1 Fans,
Daniela & The Scholarship Junkies Team