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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Tulane clarifies confusion over FAFSA application

New changes to the FAFSA application will change how Tulane delivers financial aid packages in 2024-2025. (Nathan Rich)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has been modified to ease the process for college applicants, but some of the changes have left students confused.

The FAFSA Simplification Act, passed by the U.S. Department of Education on Dec. 27, 2020, instituted changes to the way FAFSA determines aid eligibility for the 2024-2025 application season.

FAFSA uses financial information to determine how much aid the federal government will provide a student with to pay for higher education. The colleges that each student applies to review FAFSA and determine a financial aid package. The amount of financial aid offered to the student varies between each institution. 

On Dec. 30, the Department of Education displayed the new form in a shorter version. Students and parents had limited access to the application until Jan. 8, when the department launched the form. 

“The soft launch allowed the Department of Education to monitor the website and also respond in real-time with any issues,” Roland Keller Jr., associate director of the Tulane University financial aid department, said. 

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 610,000 new students from low-income backgrounds will receive Pell Grants and nearly 1.5 million Pell Grant recipients will receive the maximum Pell Grant. 

Keller Jr. said that students may see changes in their awarded financial aid. 

“But, I do have to say that some students may see a decrease. We just don’t know until we actually get the FAFSA data,” Keller Jr. said. 

Along with fluctuations in federal aid, parents with more than one student in college will no longer receive a “sibling discount.” 

“Although FAFSA will continue to collect information about the number of children a parent has in college, that discount has been discontinued,” Keller Jr. said. 

Another major change to the application is the replacement of the Estimated Family Contribution with the Student Aid Index.

According to Keller, this change is meant to more accurately represent “the amount of financial aid a student is eligible to receive.”

Keller Jr. said that, despite these changes, Tulane expects to send out timely financial aid notifications and offers. 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA application opens on July 1, 2024 and closes on June 30, 2025. The deadline for the Louisiana 2024-2025 FAFSA is July 1, 2025. 

“All deadlines are suggested deadlines, as Tulane will accept FAFSA data received after our suggested deadlines and attempt to offer federal student aid if warranted, reasonable and compliant with federal regulations,” Keller Jr. said.

For students, parents and families struggling with completing the application, there are resources available at Tulane to aid in the process. 

“I would encourage students, parents and families, if they have questions about the FAFSA or the College Scholarship Service Profile, to contact the financial aid office,” Keller Jr. said. “We’ll definitely contact them as soon as we can.” 

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