News about financial aid By Laura Taveras
For decades the process of applying for financial aid has prevented many students from applying, entering, and staying in college.
But that may change.
On September 14, President Obama along with Arne Duncan, his secretary of education, announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), for 2017-2018. These changes allow students to apply earlier, and make the application process faster. Students will have access to the application by October 1, 2016. Those interested in federal aid will also have the option of using tax information from two years prior. This allows the IRS-data retrieval tool to use archived information to populate most of the application!
Students, parents, and college administration at the City College of New York have expressed excited about this! Laura-Liisa Nanits, 22, an environmental chemistry major at CCNY, likes that she doesn’t have to spend time going through the application. “I hate having to go line-by-line to check everything, it’s annoying,” states Nanits. “Push a button and I am DONE.”
Deysi Mercado, parent of a CCNY college senior, appreciates this initiative and thinks other parents will too. “I am always the last to get my W2 at work, so I don’t get to file my taxes until later,” states Mercado. “She’s [her daughter] always bugging me to do my taxes. I am glad that, I, and other parents, will have more leeway.”
The financial aid office embraces these new changes. “If it’s good for the students, it’s good for us,” says Shellye Belton, deputy director of the financial aid office at CCNY. The administration appreciates the correctness in data that these changes will bring. Students have projected income information, and this created a lot discrepancies. “In the past students predicted information…Now the FASFA will be accurate from the beginning,” adds Belton.
This comes shortly after the president announced a new college ranking system, which also aids students in the college application process. In his State of the Union Address Obama made a promise he seems to be keeping–helping America’s youth afford college. He stated, “…[H]helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement.”