New changes to FAFSA application for college students

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)- There’s a new version of the federal student aid application known as the FAFSA.

Students typically fill out the FAFSA starting in October, but because of a relaunch, the newest version only became available at the end of December. The soft launch caused glitches for some families.

“The biggest hurdle has been students and families trying to have access to the form and complete the application,” said Emi Alvarez, director of financial aid at Millersville University.

Alvarez says some of the issues during the rollout have slowed.

Thanks for signing up!

Watch for us in your inbox.

Subscribe Now

WHTM Daily Digest

“I’m not getting as many complaints from students and families as I was that first week of January,” said Alvarez.

I you haven’t filled out the form, there are some changes you need to know. There are fewer questions and more languages available.

“Another big change families will see is that there is a process where families’ information from the IRS will be automatically imported into their FAFSA that way they won’t have to answer as many financial questions,” said Diona Brown, director of school services at Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The formula used to determine financial aid eligibility also changed. The relaunch no longer gives families a break for having more than one child in college at the same time.

“However institutions can still use that in determining eligibility for institutional aid,” said Brown.

Financial aid offers will also be issued later than usual.

“The Department of Education is not transmitting FAFSA data to colleges until the end of January, so that could delay the schedule for some financial aid offers from some colleges,” said Brown.

To make it easier on families and students, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is hosting free workshops Saturday in Harrisburg.

“We’ll have staff there that will help them complete the FAFSA, so any student or parents who want additional help completing the FAFSA are certainly welcome to come,” said Brown.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to ABC27.