Some “small ball” changes in students’ financial aid policies have allowed students to have more control over their futures.

The Changes

Some “small ball” changes in students’ financial aid policies, which were implemented last autumn, have given some students more control over their futures. A couple of these changes include having an earlier “Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),” as well as allowing students to use the tax data from the previous year.

A year later, there has been evidence of benefits from these changes in a significant number of university students. According to an NCAN’s analysis of data from the US’s “Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid,” the highschool graduate 2017 class has applied to more FAFSAs than the 2016 class- around 9 percent more students.

This means that over 178,000 students- a total of 2.1 million- had a chance to understand the ways they could pay for their higher education. Sixty one percent of seniors in highschool applied for FAFSA this year, as opposed to 56 percent last year.

What Does This Mean For Students

This is particularly great, as FAFSA makes students eligible for grants such as ”Federal Work-Study” loans, Stafford Loans, Pell Grants and other institutional and state aids.

According to studies, high school seniors who apply for FAFSA are 63% more likely to go to college. Unfortunately, low-income students are less likely to apply to FAFSA, which usually leaves up to $24 billion federal aid money available each year.

Comments On The Change

The staff of “Carolina College Advising Corporation”, a NCAN member, commented on this, saying: “The changes to the 2017-18 FAFSA laid a groundwork that allows low-income, underrepresented, first-generation college students to complete the FAFSA more quickly and easily than ever before … We firmly believe these changes to the FAFSA have given students much more control over their futures.”

Carolina Advising Corps’ staff members have reported that this year’s FAFSA policy changes “make college attendance feel less like a dream and more of a reality” for students that are the least likely to apply.

Lawmakers, such as Lloyd Doggett and Senator Lamar Alexander have already started taking steps to “codify” the FAFSA simplification permanently in order to make the application’s 142 questions “faster, easier and more accurate.”

NCAN has also already created a revised version of FAFSA, called “Streamlined FAFSA,” which reduces the question number to half or even more, depending on the financial situation of the student. The new version also aims to better target low-income students who would need such financial aid the most.

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