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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Trouble in Tuition: The FAFSA Fumble of 2024

FAFSA+provides+instructions+on+how+to+fill+out+financial+aid+applications
Ameya Menon
FAFSA provides instructions on how to fill out financial aid applications

As many college students went home over the holidays and began the process of completing the FAFSA, families were shocked to see a significant increase in the tuition they were expected to pay.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a program designed to provide financial aid to college students through federal grants, work-study funds, and loans. By assisting struggling students, FAFSA aims to reduce financial stress off of families and provide better education opportunities for all students.

Starting in 2021, FAFSA decided to make some changes to the system for the graduating class of 2024.

By significantly reducing the number of questions asked on the form and taking more housing specific questions into account, FAFSA hoped to make the process simpler for applicants.

However, these changes had some unexpected consequences and resulted in many unhappy parents.

While FAFSA previously excluded primary residences, small businesses, and family farms from asset calculations, recent changes take these factors into account. Although this helps lower class families receive more aid, many middle class families with these assets are left having to pay more money than they can afford.

Furthermore, these alterations affect many different types of families. When it comes to remarriage, FAFSA’s new changes account for incomes of stepparents, penalizing students who depend on one parent over another.

Even intact families struggle with FAFSA’s new contribution estimations. Rather than splitting up a family’s ability to provide amongst all children, FAFSA calculates Student Aid Index per child by multiplying a family’s maximum ability to provide by the number of children they have, leaving families knee deep in fees.

The old requirements of FAFSA were already problematic to many, and new alterations just made things worse.

Junior Prithikha Paranidharan feels that the system has always been unfair. “Even before these changes, the students that are applying need to show their documentation that verifies he/she is a US citizen. By doing this it affects the people that were not born in the US who will therefore not be able to get the financial aid that they strive for,” Paranidharan said.

Junior Laura Chen has some similar viewpoints. “The new version of the FAFSA is, obviously, an attempt at improvement. However, it seems to penalize the wrong groups and miscalculate the true wealth of households. Small businesses and farms, for example, do necessarily signify great wealth. The owning of land does not translate to a the ability to pay tuition,” she said.

As families struggle with the mess Congress has made out of FAFSA, the Education Department is left having to pay $1.8 billion toward reparations, leaving financial aid officials shocked and with no exact timeline for the fix, and the US Department of Education hurrying to make amends before the public starts to take action.

View Comments (6)
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About the Contributor
Ameya Menon, Multimedia Manager
Ameya Menon is currently a junior at Pleasant Valley High School and serves as Multimedia Manager. Apart from journalism, some of the classes she enjoys taking include Astronomy and Calculus III. She also is a member of girl’s tennis, ethics bowl, and serves as the co-president of the math club after school. In her free time, Ameya plays ping pong with her family and enjoys participating in heated games of monopoly with her friends. She is excited to be a part of the Spartan Shield this semester.
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Comments (6)

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  • S

    SulemanApr 3, 2024 at 6:13 pm

    I agree, fafsa in genearl is a mess. So much so I have not filled it out yet. Everyone I know says it is not very fun to fill it out. I have tried segveral times but what ends up happening is it starts to ask confusing questions whihc are very nuanced and do not have a very straight foward answers. I hope this does not screw me over

    Reply
  • F

    FoluMar 31, 2024 at 11:45 pm

    Yes as a senior the whole process seems underdeveloped.

    Reply
  • Z

    ZaineMar 31, 2024 at 8:34 pm

    This is really going to affect a lot of people including me since there is really no information from the government on what is being done about this to help students who will be going into college for the first time in the fall.

    Reply
  • A

    Andrew LeonardMar 30, 2024 at 10:38 am

    I went to the meeting at Scott for help filling out the stuff online with my mom and the girl helping me messed up. My application is still in pending and I can’t edit it until they release it. It’s been very frustrating and makes the thought of going to college not so fun.

    Reply
  • A

    AlexMar 27, 2024 at 10:23 am

    This will probably make people reconsider going to collage after all of this hardship!

    Reply
  • M

    Megan MerrellMar 27, 2024 at 10:17 am

    as a senior i can attest that the fafsa seems to be more difficult than ever, as my mom is struggling to do her part and the online chat feature hasnt been very helpful for her

    Reply