The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

‘FAFSA College Support Strategy’ launched

Secretary of Education takes steps to make paying for college more affordable and efficient
Photo by Shaylin Jochum
The hope is that education will be much more financially accessible.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) College Support Strategy” on Feb. 5.

According to a Federal Student Aid (FSA) news release, the goal of these changes is to benefit both colleges and students by making it easier and more accessible to process financial aid forms, as well as ensuring that students are receiving the maximum amount of aid possible to help them pursue their goals.

One step being taken to improve the FAFSA form is reducing the current amount of verification requirements. This will be made possible with an implemented direct data exchange with the IRS, ensuring income data won’t need to be verified. 

The maximum number of new routine program reviews possible will be suspended to ensure colleges’ financial aid offices have more time to help students receive aid awards rather than providing documentation. 

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Waiving some of the strict time frames and providing more flexibility for recertifying eligibility provides colleges more time to support students as well.

The “FAFSA College Support Strategy” will be financed with $50 million in funding to provide assistance and support, such as staff training and developing financial aid packages in under-resourced schools. 

These schools will also acquire experts with the intent to supply additional personalized help that may be needed. Test student financial aid records will be delivered within the time frame of one week to better allow colleges to create aid packages for students.

According to the Department of Education, test versions of institutional student information records will be released by Feb. 16 to prepare schools to utilize this resource and the tools needed to support the “FAFSA College Support Strategy.”

Third-year psychology student Annika Lemanski described her feelings on the new process as a positive change.

“I know plenty of my friends have had problems with submitting the form in general and on time,” Lemanski said. “Hopefully this will help with that.”

“We are determined to drive a constant drumbeat of action to fulfill the transformational potential of the better FAFSA,” Cardona said when it was announced.

Since the new FAFSA form for the 2024-2025 school year launched on Feb. 5, nearly four million forms have been submitted. 

The Department of Education recently announced a delay on sending student FAFSA information to universities to ensure accuracy. This delay is caused by issues with the changes being made to add flexibility to universities with recertification. This means that schools may receive messages that there is a possibility they will be unable to recertify. 

Jochum can be reached at [email protected].

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    Chris SMar 17, 2024 at 8:00 pm

    Well, the new form makes things less affordable and less efficient. Cardona and “team” have failed miserably.