FAFSA application opening delayed to December

FAFSA application opening delayed to December
FAFSA application opening delayed to December
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 7:55 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) announced to students and families a delay in the opening of the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

According to officials, the FAFSA application will be delayed from October to December this year, as the U.S. Department of Education finalizes updates to simplify the application.

The FAFSA typically opens for students on October 1 to secure federal, state and institutional financial aid.

“The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education recognizes the critical role that completing the FAFSA plays in making higher education affordable,” said Gerrick Hampton, Ed.D., CHE Office of Student Affairs associate director. “Even though the opening is delayed this year, we encourage all South Carolina students and families to ensure their accounts are active, create their FSA IDs and gather their information ahead of time to further simplify the application process once the window opens. College Goal South Carolina events are occurring across the state this fall to support families in these beginning stages of the process.”

According to information from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association the new FAFSA will include many changes to make it easier to complete. These are:

  • It will import more elements from IRS tax return data, resulting in fewer overall questions for students and families, and fewer verifications.
  • It is predicted to average larger Pell Grant awards, and an increased number of students eligible for Pell.
  • It establishes a minimum Pell Grant award based on Adjusted Gross Income, automatically qualifying some students for Pell.
  • Changes the Expected Family Contribution to the Student Aid Index. The SAI can be as low as negative $1,500. It has fewer factors in the formula and more elements imported from IRS tax return data, requiring fewer FAFSA questions.
  • Students are no longer required to enroll in Selective Service to file the FAFSA.
  • Eliminates the prohibitions on eligibility for incarcerated students and students with drug-related offenses.
  • The new FAFSA will use tax forms to determine family size.
  • Eliminates the provision that divides the expected contribution by the number of family members enrolled in college.
  • Requires small businesses/family farms to report as assets (previously businesses/family farms with less than 100 employees were excluded). The FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022.

Officials said the exact date will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in the coming months.

Updates regarding the FAFSA application process by can be found on the CHE social media, or by visiting the CHE website.

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