The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

The Student News Site of Poway High School

The Iliad

Want free money?

FAFSA changes and timeline for 2024

   As the college application season comes to a close, many seniors are now looking at the reality of attending college. That reality is that college is really expensive.

   The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is a government program meant to make college more affordable for students by compensating costs that not everyone can afford. It doesn’t pay your tuition entirely, but it can really help

   “Lots of students don’t apply for the FAFSA because they think they won’t qualify, but a lot more qualify than they realize,” counselor Karly Wardwell said. “There’s no harm in applying. It’s free money. Who doesn’t want free money?”

   This year brought about the biggest changes to the FAFSA since the Reagan administration, but the process of change has been in the works for much longer. The FAFSA Simplification Act of 2020 was passed with the understanding that new changes would arrive for the class of 2024. 

   “It makes significant changes to the underlying processes and methodologies for determining federal student aid eligibility,” the Congressional Research Service explained. 

   While the simplification of FAFSA does seem like it would be helpful, the reality of the situation is that the class of 2024 will have a harder process than all future classes to come. In past years, FAFSA came out on Oct. 1, and with the deadline on June 30 (or your last day of high school enrollment), that gave students and families nine months to finish their forms. This year, applications opened on Dec. 31, and although less time-consuming, it is not three months less time-consuming.

   In addition, California’s FAFSA deadline is April 2, giving Californian students merely three months to finish the FAFSA application. That said, those already planning on attending a California Community College who miss the April 2 deadline, have a second opportunity to submit the application by Sept. 2.

   “Some schools have earlier deadlines,” counselor Jaime Brown said. “If anyone needs any help, they can always come to the Titan Center for assistance.”

   The San Diego and Imperial Counties Consortium is hosting a number of College Access Programs for high school students and parents needing assistance with FAFSA applications. From Jan. 20 to Feb. 28, they will host Cash for College 1:1 Workshops, which will be in-person at host high schools and available virtually on Zoom. For more information, the counseling office and Titan Center have all the information including locations and exact dates.

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