Throw Out What You Knew About College Affordability

New Rules Forcing Parents To Work Smarter Just To Afford College.

The Plan You Had Just Became A Liability And Can Backfire.

Top Line: Business Owners Will Feel The Pain And Families With More Than One Child May End Up Paying Double.

The FAFSA, the primary financial aid application used by colleges and universities in the United States, will undergo a transformative set of changes this fall. The last (and largest) set of changes to the FAFSA from the 2020 FAFSA Simplification Actwill roll out in December of this year. The 2020 law mandated a wide-ranging set of changes to the FAFSA, simplifying the application form itself and completely overhauling the calculations used to determine eligibility for financial aid provided by the federal government and institutions.

The new policies will apply for the 2024-25 academic year (next fall), and will profoundly impact students and families. One universal benefit, implied by the name of the law itself, is the simplification of the FAFSA form. The pre-2020 FAFSA was incredibly complex and stressful for parents and students, requiring applicants and their families to parse dozens of often incomprehensible questions and scenarios about their finances and family structure.

In its final form, the simplified FAFSA lives up to its nomenclature. Numerous questions, mostly applying to edge cases covering a small number of students, have been stripped out of the revised form. When paired with the gradual but substantial user experience enhancements rolled out by the Department of Education over the last several years, the simplified FAFSA will genuinely be easier and hopefully drive an increase in the number of students who apply for aid.

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