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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
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FAFSA is delayed as changes are made

Changes in the FAFSA could impact students.

The 2024-2025 school year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been delayed due to changes in the application process and aid calculation.

The FAFSA’s opening date has not been specified, however, the Department of Education said that openings will be sometime this December. The normal FAFSA release date is Oct. 1. 

The Department of Education worked on major changes to simplify the process of filing out the FAFSA and alter some information used to determine financial aid. This could affect the grants and scholarships students receive. 

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) used to measure a family’s financial need will be replaced with a new methodology, the Student Aid Index (SAI), the Department of Education said. 

“There’s other changes they’ve made to the calculation which might help some students and are going to potentially hurt other students,” Robert Sommers, executive director of financial aid, said. 

Sommers said that student’s eligibility for certain Taylor grants such as the Taylor fund could be impacted if tied to the FAFSA. Merit-based financial aid from Taylor, such as academic, athletic and performing arts scholarships will not be affected.  

Overall, Sommers said that once everyone gets used to the changes, the FAFSA form will be faster to fill out. 

The changes include the removal of some of the standard questions on the updated FAFSA. The Department of Education said that students are no longer required to register for the Selective Service and drug-related convictions which will no longer disqualify students from aid. 

Further changes will require information on the form such as whether the student has family-owned businesses or farms. Previously there were some limits that excluded those types of assets in the calculation, Sommers said. 

The Department of Education said that the updated FAFSA assessment will no longer take the number of college students in a family into consideration when determining aid like it did in the past. 

Another change is the Future Act Direct Data Exchange which will pull information from the IRS to the FAFSA behind the scenes, Sommer said. Parents and students do not have to link tax information anymore; it will happen automatically. This will simplify the process for students and families. 

The delay is pushing back Taylor’s financial aid timeline. 

“Normally, we would already be awarding students, whether that be students coming in or returning students,” Sommers said. “If they filed the FAFSA, if we had everything we needed, we start awarding them already.”

Students will not be awarded for aid until the FAFSA opens in December this year. 

The priority deadline for filling out the FAFSA in Indiana is Apr. 15. Taylor follows the same due date for prioritizing institutional money. It is possible that the state, as well as Taylor, will adjust the deadline this year due to the delayed opening, Sommers said. 

Students should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible, he said. The financial aid office will post an announcement once they know when the FAFSA opens. 

Sommers encouraged students to fill out the FAFSA. It helps families qualify for federal and state money and assists Taylor to make sure they are providing what they need to. Even if a family does not initially qualify for aid, their financial situation might change during the next school year. 

“There’s too many unknowns at this point, to be really able to say how it’s going to impact students,” Sommers said. 

If students or families have any questions or concerns about the FAFSA, Sommers said they should reach out. They can reach the financial aid office at the phone number 765-998-5358 or the email finaid@taylor.edu

“We will always help any student or family who needs help filing the FAFSA to make sure they’re meeting the deadline and all that,” Sommers said.