FAFSA Updates to Streamline User Experience
It’s FAFSA season again! Time to get those applications completed and submit them for review. Every student requesting Federal financial aid must fill out a new FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) for every school year, and the earlier the better. While the task may seem daunting, the FAFSA application has been streamlined for your convenience and is easier than ever to complete.
Changes have been made this year to both the online and paper applications. Here is an overview of some of the changes:
The online application has been redesigned to provide more accurate information, in an easier to use format. Answers to questions are now used to skip unnecessary questions and only prompt applicants to answer questions relevant to their status.
Single Point of Entry
With only way to login now, the FAFSA is much easier to access. After entering the username and password the applicant is directed to the correct page, based on where they left off. This new method allows the applicant to start a new application, resume an existing application, check the status of a FAFSA, correct information, and view and print an application. It is no longer necessary to choose an option at the start up page.
Updates to the FAFSA4caster
The FAFSA4caster is a tool used to estimate federal aid available, just by answering a few simple questions. The tool has been updated this year to provide more accurate results. New filtering questions have been added to determine eligibility and dependency status. The updates now allow students to be directed to appropriate questions, based on answers to prior questions. Also, the FAFSA4caster now uses assumed net worth, based on values from similar income ranges, to more accurately predict eligibility.
Color changes have been implemented to guide students and parents through the worksheet. Required student information is highlighted in yellow, with parent information in purple. Additional instructional text has been added, and questions have been reworded to aid in parent and student understanding.
While mass distribution of paper applications has been discontinued, paper versions are still available and can be requested by calling 800/4-FED-AID, or printing a copy from the website.
The 2011-2012 FAFSA was made available on January 1, 2011. Deadlines vary by state, ranging from February through June. Several state deadlines were changed this year so check the FAFSA website to determine your states deadline.
To get started on your FAFSA, head to fafsa.gov!
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