FAFSA Updates | Education Dept. Extends Waiver Limiting Financial Aid Audits
Here on the Send Your Kids to College blog we hope to provide useful tips and information about your college financial plan. One big part of the last few years is the sweeping changes to FAFSA. We have covered the many steps of change along the way, and will continue to provide information as it comes. Today's blog focuses on May's decision by the Education Dept. to continue to temporarily relax its audit of students who apply for federal grants and loans. Let's take a look at what this means.
FAFSA Effects of the Pandemic
FAFSA was due for changes, as we spoke about here on the blog way back in February of 2021. The pandemic has certainly shifted the landscape of financial planning for college. Having a trusted Certified College Planning Specialist can be a huge help when facing the challenge of the FAFSA form. The ongoing changes and shifts in information can make things even more frustrating. The financial implications of the pandemic have continued to take form as we continue to push through. What does this decision mean to students applying for college?
Relaxed Audit Process
It has been almost a full calendar year since the Ed. Dept first loosened its audit standards for students seeking federal financial aid through the pandemic. Many experts believe that this decision benefits students from low-income households, as once again fewer students from these households will be forced to submit documents to prove the accuracy of their information on their 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, (FAFSA). The department will continue to focus its audit process on rooting out identity theft and fraud.
More Efficient Process
According to a Washington Post analysis, over the past decade, the Education Department disproportionately audited students from majority Black and Latino neighborhoods. More than $120 billion in the federal financial aid system should be monitored, but the manner in which the system has been monitored has long been overdue for a change. Many believed that the audit process was time-consuming, invasive, and an unnecessary hurdle for college applicants.
FAFSA Applications Down
The pandemic has affected just about every avenue of American life, but one thing is for sure, it has decreased the number of kids applying for financial aid. As of the end of this March, FAFSA applications for the 2022-23 cycle were down almost 9% year-over-year, according to the NCAN (National College Attainment Network). FAFSA renewals from currently enrolled college students declined 12.3%.
Read More: FAFSA Simplification Delayed Until 2024
Need Help with FAFSA?
This blog serves as a way that we can keep students and families of WNY informed about changes to the FAFSA, but did you know that we can take all the frustration of FAFSA forms off your hands? We are Certified College Planning Specialists who can file your FAFSA, TAP, and other necessary forms for a small one-time fee. Just give us a call to speak with CCPS Jeff Boron, and we can get the process started today! Don't let the FAFSA stress you out, you have help right here in your WNY backyard!