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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Staff Editorial: FAFSA changes

Lack of communication and information to students
Senior+Simar+Singh+filling+out+FAFSA+for+college+Jan+23.+College+possible+has+been+helping+students+talk+to+colleges.%0A
Lex Lee
Senior Simar Singh filling out FAFSA for college Jan 23. College possible has been helping students talk to colleges.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an application that students can fill out to get access to federal student aid. Filling out this form can get students access to things like federal grants, work study funds or loans. The FAFSA helps students pay for college, career or trade school. Other states and colleges use your FAFSA to determine if students are eligible for student aid and other loans. 

The new deadline for the 2024 FAFSA is before June 30, 2024. Students must provide consent to have the IRS send over their tax information for their FAFSA. Applicants must, also, have an account with StudentAid.gov to fill out the FAFSA form. The formula to determine if students are eligible for financial aid has changed. FAFSA now uses the applicants student aid index, which is calculated using the information students gave on their FAFSA — this tells colleges, career and trade schools if students are eligible for federal student aid. Alongside this students can now qualify for additional Federal Pell Grant funds, the largest federal grant program offered. 

The Echo Editorial Board believes that the FAFSA website was not as clear as they should have been when giving information on the FAFSA and recent changes. The lack of communication and resources made it extremely frustrating when looking for more about the new rules for the FAFSA. People who knew how to find information were really good at keeping updates online about what was happening with the FAFSA, something that the actual website was lacking. Getting into the actual FAFSA application was more up to chance and students just had to get in when they got in.

The echo editorial board said it was hard to get into the actual website for the FAFSA because the system was super buggy and slow. The bad construction of the webpage made it hard to navigate, especially for those who did not already have an account with StudentAid.gov to begin with. The Board found that when students would get in to make an actual account, there were many errors and bugs, which made the whole process difficult and time consuming. The Board shared that when a student would fill out their part of the form, it would take them only a few minutes if they had an account, but for a parent or guardian it took as long as a week to complete their part because of the many issues that occurred when trying to create an account. 

The Board agreed that if there was a more streamlined way to get information about the FAFSA, it would benefit the students who might not know much about the form. The Board believes that people can sometimes be more weary about having all their financial information on a website. If there was more information on how they could fill out the form, then a lot more people would be less scared to complete the application. 

The Board explained that it is important to talk about the FAFSA in school. Right now, there are limited options available for those who want to know more about the FAFSA form. Park Connections should have more options to get information, so if someone actually does want to know more about the FAFSA, they have resources available for them. The Board believes that having teachers who know more about the topic would also make it easier for students to learn more about it if they want to. There could be someone they can reach out to with any questions they might have about the FAFSA. 

The Echo Editorial Board believes a comprehensive guide available to students regarding filling out the FAFSA would be a beneficial way to aid students for their post-secondary success.

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About the Contributor
Lex Lee, Echo Staffer
Hi! My name is Lex Lee. This is my second year on staff and I took the position of a photographer and writer for Echo! I love many things such as playing soccer and hanging out with friends. My favorite artist and song is Love Galore by Sza and Travis Scott.

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