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Financial Aid

Update on new FAFSA form

 

The U.S. Department of Education has introduced a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form/formula for  2024-25. There was a delay in releasing the form, which means that colleges and universities are receiving filed FAFSA information from the U.S. Department of Education several months later than usual, and many students are still waiting to learn about their financial aid packages.

 

Because the financial aid available through the FAFSA is critical to so many Kentuckians, we hope that this update will provide insight into the new form and encourage students to be patient as they wait for news about their financial aid.

This joint message is provided by the heads of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.

Kentucky students urged to be patient during delays processing

new FAFSA form for college financial aid

February 8, 2024

If you’re thinking about college next year — as a high school senior or parent, or as an adult wanting to go back to school — you’ve probably been told that filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, or FAFSA, is a crucial step on the road to a degree or credential.

 

That is unequivocally true. FAFSA is the key to unlocking federal, state, and institutional need-based aid that helps low- and moderate-income Kentuckians pay for college. Last year, Kentucky students received nearly $400 million in Pell grants from the federal government; more than $200 million in Kentucky Lottery-funded, need-based aid administered by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority; and hundreds of millions more in institutional aid from Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities.

 

The good news is that a new FAFSA form and formula for the 2024-25 school year should make even more Kentuckians eligible for need-based aid.

 

However, these changes to the FAFSA process have caused delays, confusion, and uncertainty. In normal years, the FAFSA opens Oct. 1 and students who file the FAFSA in the fall would be receiving financial aid notifications by now. Instead, the new FAFSA has only been open to most students since the beginning of January.

 

How FAFSA Works
Once a student files the form, the U.S. Department of Education processes that information, and then transmits it to colleges and universities. The colleges use that information to determine the student’s eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid. They build a financial aid package to provide the student with an estimate of how much aid they are eligible to receive and how much college will actually cost them.

 

The U.S. Department of Education announced in late January that colleges will not receive the FAFSA data they need to calculate student financial aid packages until at least mid-March. That means students likely will not get those financial aid notifications until April, at the earliest.

 

We understand that this delay is frustrating as students wait for the financial aid information they need to make decisions about their future.

 

Message to Students and Parents

Our message to students and parents is this: Please be patient with college financial aid offices. Every college and university in the country is in the same situation as they await this FAFSA information. The FAFSA rollout has been concerning for them as well, as they want nothing more than to make sure students have a full and accurate picture of their financial aid package as soon as possible. 

 

If you’ve already completed the FAFSA, we applaud you! If you haven’t yet, we urge you to go ahead and submit the FAFSA now so that your application is in the queue and schools can begin to process your information as soon as they receive it from the U.S. Department of Education.

 

Need Help Filing FAFSA?

If you need help filing the FAFSA, contact your KHEAA outreach counselor at kheaa.com or the financial aid office at the Kentucky college or university you’re applying to.

 

A college education is the best investment you can make in your future, and we’re working to help Kentuckians access every financial aid dollar available to them.

Aaron Thompson_CPE_low res.jpg

Dr. Aaron Thompson

President

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

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