January 29, 2024
If you are a high school senior or prospective college student, or the parent of one, you probably have heard that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, has changed. The redesigned FAFSA is intended to streamline the application process for most students. In fact, according to the Dept. of Ed, some students will now have to answer as few as 18 questions, which could take as little as 10 minutes. Unfortunately, during the soft launch in January, several issues were identified that caused delays for some early filers. Most of these concerns are being addressed, and FAFSA is now open and accepting applications.
If you haven’t completed your FAFSA yet, and if you or a family member are even considering college or career training in 2024-25, now is a great time to apply!
Just finding out how much federal aid you are eligible for can make a huge difference. It can help you decide on the college or career training program that’s right for you and your budget! Even if you are not sure where or if you will go to school next year, that is OK. You should still complete the FAFSA now! Did you know that a student who qualifies for the maximum PELL Grant can receive $7,395 a year for your education? The PELL Grant goes with you, to whichever eligible college or career program you decide to attend. And that’s before you apply for any school or private scholarships.
We know students and parents might have questions about the updated FAFSA, which is why American Savings Foundation’s board of directors recently approved a series of small grants to local nonprofits to support FAFSA awareness. Organizations including OIC of New Britain, YWCA, Pathways/Senderos, HRA of New Britain, New Britain ROOTS, the Boys and Girls Club of New Britain, Park Central in Waterbury, and others, are planning workshops and other assistance for students and their families!
Employers and community leaders – you can help too! If you know a terrific student who would thrive with a college degree or technical training, encourage them to fill out the FAFSA. Then, encourage them to apply for local scholarships. And to really make a huge impact – write that letter of recommendation that captures their unique skills and amazing potential! Trust us – when a student comes back in a few years to tell you that you made a big difference in helping them achieve their dreams – it’s the best feeling in the world!
The official FAFSA website is www.studentaid.gov. It’s easier and faster than ever to apply. But if you run into questions, there are a lot of people in the community who can help. And we’re here to help, too. Visit our website for links to helpful information about the FAFSA and other resources.