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The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Explained: The 2024-25 FAFSA delay
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On Aug. 4, 2022, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) uploaded The FAFSA Simplification Act. According to CRS, “The FAFSA Simplification Act makes significant changes to the underlying processes and methodologies for determining federal student aid eligibility.”

Students all across the country are still awaiting their Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) packages for the 2024-2025 upcoming school year. Millions of students rely on the FAFSA every year to help aid in the costs of attending institutions of higher education. The FAFSA is used by schools to determine loan and grant eligibility for each student. 

The Department of Education has been working for the last several months to repair and revamp the FAFSA form, but this process is taking longer than they expected. As of now, institutions will not be able to receive student’s FAFSA forms until early to mid-March. This delay is causing financial aid offers and packages to be months behind schedule for both incoming first-year students and returning students. 

The FAFSA has made several changes to its form including anyone who provides information on your FAFSA form will be considered a contributor, you must provide consent and approval to be eligible for federal student aid, you won’t be able to access the FAFSA form without a account, the formula used to determine your financial aid eligibility is changing, you may qualify for additional Federal Pell Grant funds and the Student Aid Report is now called the FAFSA Submission Summary. 

According to StudentAid.Gov, “Starting in the 2024-25 award year, an estimated 610,000 new students will be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. An additional 1.5 million students will also be eligible to receive a maximum Pell Grant award.”

The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $7,395 for the 2024-25 award year. The amount a student receives from the Pell Grant depends on their Student Aid Index (SAI), previously known as the Expected Family Contribution. The SAI is an eligibility index number that your college’s financial aid office uses to determine how much federal student aid you would receive if you attended school. This number results from the information that you provide on your FAFSA form. This number is not a dollar amount of aid eligibility or what your family is expected to provide. A negative SAI indicates the student has a higher financial need. 

The Pell Grant is also based on the school’s cost of attendance, the student’s status as a full-time or part-time student and the student’s plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. You can learn how the SAI is calculated here.  

The CRS report states, “Students who do not qualify for a Pell Grant based on their adjusted gross income (AGI) can still qualify for a Pell Grant based on their calculated SAI. Students who qualify for a maximum Pell Grant based on their AGI qualify for an SAI of zero or, in certain cases, a negative SAI. The SAI of these students establishes eligibility for maximum amounts of other forms of need-based federal student aid.”

Another major update to the FAFSA form this year is the length of the form. According to StudentAid.Gov, “Applicants will be able to skip as many as 26 questions, depending on their individual circumstances. Some applicants could answer as few as 18 questions, which could take less than 10 minutes.” 

High school seniors looking to attend college are awaiting their financial aid offers as it plays a vital role for many in choosing which school to attend. But every school in the country is awaiting the forms before they can even begin processing financial aid packages and offers for students. In a recent update on the FAFSA website, “The 2024–25 FAFSA form is now available. We’ll begin sending submitted applications to colleges and states in the first half of March.” 

According to StudentAid.Gov, “Until your school(s) and state receive your form, they won’t be able to answer questions about your aid eligibility or status.” 

While the FAFSA form has undergone major updates, university financial aid offices are left waiting to package both new and returning student financial aid packages. The delays in the new FAFSA have set everything months behind schedule. 

Assuming there are no other issues with the new FAFSA form, universities should begin receiving students’ forms within the next couple of weeks. The 2024-25 FAFSA form is now available for students who have not yet applied

If any students have any questions regarding the new FAFSA form or their financial aid, they can contact UWL’s Financial Aid Office. More information regarding financial aid for those taking summer classes at UWL will be issued as more information becomes available. 

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About the Contributor
Sophie Miller
Sophie Miller, Social Justice Reporter
  • Year at UWL: Senior
  • PGPs: She/Her/Hers
  • Hometown: Prairie du Chien, WI
  • Major: Dual Major in Political Science & Communication Studies with a Public Communication and Advocacy Emphasis
  • Minor: Social Justice Minor
  • Other Campus Involvement: Intern in the Financial Aid Office
  • Future Plans after Graduation: Attend Graduate School
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Going to Pettibone Beach
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