The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

New 2024-2025 FAFSA version launches, causes difficulties

New+2024-2025+FAFSA+version+launches%2C+causes+difficulties
Rhea Noumair

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form has undergone significant changes, impacting students using the financial aid application process for the 2024-2025 academic year and beyond. These modifications, made by the U.S. Department of Education, as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act (2021), aim to simplify the application process and provide financial assistance to more students.

A new version of the federal student aid application known as the FAFSA is now available to all college applicants for the 2024-2025 school year.

With the new changes, the FAFSA didn’t open on Oct. 1 as usual, but instead “soft launched” on Dec. 30, 2023, with the most significant redesign since the Reagan administration.

“The [three-month delay] is taking what used to be a six-month timeline and compressed it to three months because colleges want to try to get their financial aid packages out no later than March 1st because kids and families have to make decisions by May 1st,” counselor Dennis Reynolds said. “People need to know a full, accurate picture with financial aid packages. Financial aid is a huge factor in people’s decisions.”

The 2024-2025 FAFSA form first opened for short periods of time: 30 minutes on Dec. 30, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023 and two hours on Jan. 1, to monitor the site in real-time and resolve any issues. Currently, the FAFSA is open 24/7 on FAFSA.gov. However, students are still encountering issues in completing their FAFSA form.

“We’ve heard from the students that there are glitches. A counselor here had the same trouble. They’d have to turn it off, shut it off, wait a couple of days, and go back on and it was fixed. It’s the first year of the changes,” College and Career Center Coordinator Gayle Evans said.

Senior Raphael Salamon has begun to fill out his FAFSA with his mother.

“It took [my mother] a long time to get her account verified and even just to complete her account setup, which was really annoying. Even though my part was easy, it was frustrating that her section was so difficult. On top of that, the FAFSA was very glitchy for me in the start and it took me a couple of days just to access it,” Salamon said.

A big change is that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can now directly import federal tax information to the FAFSA, intended to make it easier for families to fill out the form without manually entering information from tax returns. The number of total application questions used to be 108, but now is simplified to around 46 or fewer.

“While this process was bumpy on the rollout, they made some pretty big changes. That was a huge undertaking for them to do, and I hope that now it is easier and the funding formula that they use gets more money to the families and students that need it,” Reynolds said.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission advises students to file their FAFSA before Mar. 1 for state financial aid. Reynolds and Evans recommend students to fill out the FAFSA with their families as soon as they can.

Senior Sam Mouyard has nearly completed her FAFSA and highlights the importance of financial aid before her college commitment.

“There are already these big decisions we have to make in senior year for planning what we’re doing next year, financial aid is going to be a big part of my decision for which college I go to,” Mouyard said.

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Allison Xu, Online Editor-in-Chief
Senior Allison Xu is excited to serve as Online Editor-in-Chief for her third year on The Pitch. In her free time, she enjoys writing short stories, playing with her beagle, and spending time with family and friends.
Rhea Noumair, Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator
Junior Rhea Noumair is in her third year of Pitch and is the Print Opinion Editor and Illustrator. She enjoys playing and watching soccer, painting and listening to music in her free time.
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