FAFSA changes go into effect

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 11:41 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In Alabama, almost 20,000 students did not fill out the FAFSA application last year, that’s almost 20,000 students who missed an opportunity for free money to help pay for post-secondary education.

Chandra Scott, Executive Director of Alabama Possible, said she challenges every graduating senior in the class of 2023 to get it done.

“Just know your options, don’t limit yourself, get your parents to understand this is a choice for you to better yourself and to be able to take advantage of every opportunity you deserve,” Scott said.

Although FAFSA is encouraged, it is not required.

However, it is required that a student opt-in or out - that started last year.

“This was really about changing the narrative at homes. We want parents to see if they complete this paperwork and receive the award documents,” Scott said. “Then they are going to see that there are dollars available for their child to take on a pathway that they thought was not foreseeable.”

FAFSA is the gateway to many financial aid resources, it’s important to not only rely on scholarships.

Kimberly Miller, Interim Director of Student Aid at the University of Montevallo, said the reason you have to get that FAFSA done is because it’s the first step.

“It could be the very difference between one school that you thought you may be required to go to, that’s local and down the road, or you may have a bigger goal with a different school on your list, and that FAFSA could make the very difference to make sure your dreams are a reality,” Scott said.

Other changes to the FAFSA application include the removal of questions revolving around Pell Grants.

Also there is a new demographic survey to see who is and is not completing the application to provide better support.

Those who are graduating in 2023 are encouraged to not wait until the spring to finish the application.

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