Big changes for the FAFSA

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The time to get the Free Application for Federal Student Aid completed is now Oct. 1 – Feb. 1. Though FAFSA can now be completed anytime before February, it is advised that students fill it out as quickly as possible.

This change is to better help first-year college students when they are choosing possible institutions by allowing them to know how much financial aid they will need months prior to their enrollment. The change also helps continuing students. Instead of getting it done in January when students don’t have school on the mind, they can get it done during fall break when Missouri Western is top priority.

FAFSA will now be using the tax forms of two years prior, so students and parents won’t have to wait to file their taxes before submitting.

If a parent loses their job during the year, they are able to go onto Missouri Western’s Financial Aid website and find the Special Circumstance Appeal Request form so that the student will receive the right amount of aid needed.

Due to the changes to the FAFSA, the Missouri’s Access Grant deadline has also changed from April 1 to Feb. 1., along with scholarship deadlines and priority Financial Aid deadlines. For continuing first-year students, financial aid packaging deadlines are still due in May, after grades are posted.

First-year students will receive their financial aid the first week of December as opposed to March or April.

“The FAFSA date change will not affect the amount received,” said Paul Orscheln, Associate Vice President Enrollment Manager.

Marilyn Baker, Director of Financial Aid believes that this will be a positive change for students.

“Before [students] leave for Christmas Break they can talk to Financial Aid staff and ask questions or use our computer lab to fill out questions. This is better than doing it during the summertime when we are here but students aren’t,” Baker said. “I hope it helps students. I hope it allows students to get their applications done before student break.”

Baker hopes to open up a couple of workshops at some point before Feb. 1 to try to help students with the changes. Students can make appointments to meet with Financial Aid if they have questions.

Central High School’s graduating seniors are preparing for the FAFSA application changes already, and will be having Missouri Western’s Financial Aid department come and talk to the parents and seniors.

“Families with older siblings may stumble at this change, because they had dealt with FAFSA in the past and were unaware of the new changes. However, for first-time freshman the change should be very simple,” said Megan McCamy, a student counselor at Central High School.

All students are advised to deal with the new changes by checking their Goldlink accounts, student emails and completing FAFSA as quickly as possible