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Tech’s Hellman: New FAFSA Learning Curve Is Worth Simplified Application

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech’s Hellman: New FAFSA Learning Curve Is Worth Simplified Application

Tech Assistant Director of Federal Programs Sarah Hellman said the new FAFSA form may be difficult for returning students and administration to transition to, but the changes are worth the learning curve.

High school counselors had previously expressed concerns about the unknowns of the new form. Hellman is involved with classes being held at Tech to help students and parents with the transition to the new form. Hellman said there are now less questions for new students and income information is automatically imported just by providing some basic information.

“Once they provide consent and approval for their Federal tax information to be included that information will automatically populate on their FAFSA,” Hellman said. “So, there’s no more looking at tax returns trying to figure out what line to look at.”

Hellman said returning students will have a learning curve.

“For returning students there has been some significant changes to the FAFSA,” Hellman said. “As well as some new steps that those students and parents have to complete in order to submit it. Overall, I do think the Department of Education has made a lot of efforts to make the FAFSA more accessible and more streamlined when it comes to having to provide tax information.”

Hellman said on the administrative side, things have gotten a little more challenging.

“They have made some changes to regulation to how we verify certain items on the FAFSA,” Hellman said. “I think it’ll be a little bit of a transition for most schools in learning those new regulations and making sure we make it as easy as possible for those students.”

Hellman said another big change is in how financial aid is calculated. She said FAFSA will no longer take into consideration how many people in a household are attending college.

“The whole purpose of them changing how eligibility is determined and the new FAFSA is suppose to make it to where many more students are eligible for student aid that otherwise they wouldn’t be eligible for under the old system,” Hellman said.

FAFSA will open up December 31. The deadline for filling out FAFSA is April 25. FAFSA normally opens up in October, and Hellman said the assumption is FAFSA will resume opening in October next year.


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