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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

FAFSA Error Reduces Financial Aid in the 2024-2025 School Year

The release of the FAFSA form this school year has brought problems and surprises to many seeking aid
Struggling+to+cope+with+the+FAFSA+error%2C+student+fill+out+their+applications+in+hope+of+receiving+aid+for+the+2024-2025+school+year.
Kate Kuryla
Struggling to cope with the FAFSA error, student fill out their applications in hope of receiving aid for the 2024-2025 school year.

Since 1992, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form has been available to all students seeking college-related financial assistance. Throughout the United States, the FAFSA has become a potential way to aid students who do not have the funding to receive their undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree. This school year, over 17 million students are expected to complete the FAFSA in hopes of receiving financial help. However, on Nov. 30, an error in the system has caused the FAFSA release to be set back and the amount of federal financial aid provided to be lowered. 

“The FAFSA is definitely essential to all students. Though some think that they’re not eligible for the program, it’s really the first step of getting any kind of scholarship. It’s really important that students are receiving the correct amount of aid they need and getting an equal opportunity at all the scholarships that are available to them,” College Advisor Ms. Sanz said. 

FAFSA, which is administered by Federal Student Aid each year, is normally released on Oct. 1. It provides students with extensive time to submit their FAFSA application before June 30, the due date. This year’s FAFSA’s release date was significantly delayed, as the form was put out on Dec. 30, three months later than usual. The hold-up was a result of an update from prior versions of FAFSA mandated by Congress three years ago. 

On Dec. 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was passed by Congress, which led to the redesign of the process used to award federal student aid. One of the major updates with this act was the replacement of the Expected Family Contribution with the Student Aid Index. The EFC was commonly misinterpreted, as students believed it was a determination of the total amount they would be expected to pay for college.

The new system implements the SAI, which clarifies that it is only an eligibility index for student aid. It is used to determine how much federal aid the student would receive if they attended a certain school. While some forms of need-based aid may be more plentiful now with the SAI, other families with several children in school at the same time will qualify for less aid overall, as it does not account for the total number of family members enrolled in college. 

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Lawmakers informed the Education Department that they were to use a new, more generous formula to protect more of a family’s income from being used to determine financial aid eligibility, making sure to adjust the amount provided with the effects of inflation. However, the SAI index has been created to evaluate the financial resources available for a student without the previous concern for inflation.

The index now relies on the past consumer price index, so it considers that families have more income at their disposal than they most often do. In refusing to modify their financial program, many students will qualify for less student aid in the upcoming 2024-2025 school year.

As salary increases continue, the government will not be correlating its financial aid with increasing prices. Because of inflation, families will receive less financial aid, as the SAI index will determine that their buying power is more than it actually is. 

“College is a huge financial burden on students and their families, and FAFSA should be trying to alleviate that as much as possible. Clearly, they’re not taking the necessary steps to do so if they aren’t considering the current economic state of the country. It’s very unfair to students who just want the opportunity to get a higher education but can’t because of financial issues,” senior Eva Bowman said. 

Due to the public’s outrage at the FAFSA redesign, the Education Department now appears to be leaning toward making the inflation adjustment sooner rather than later. Though they have not made an official announcement, the department is still  assessing its options. They have not yet confirmed or denied if they will move forward with the inflation fix this year. 

While continuing to debate how to solve this problem, U.S. officials face a dilemma, as the public calls for them to bring change to the education system.

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About the Contributor
Kate Kuryla, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Kate Kuryla is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program who is excited to return to Cavsconnect for her second year as a staff writer. Aiming to improve since her previous year as a freshman, Kuryla is entering sophomore year with a new mindset. This past summer she was rarely home, as she was traveling to Scandinavia, Turkey and Italy. She definitely came back from her trip part Italian. She loves to try all kinds of food and listen to all types of music, but her favorite artist has to be Lana Del Rey. She hopes that maybe one day Del Rey will come to Miami on tour. When Kate is not doing schoolwork or with her friends and family, you can find her curled up in bed sleeping. She dreams of moving to New York City one day and have a cat to keep her company. Kate does not know what she will major in yet, but she believes it will be either in the medical field or law studies. She’s very indecisive. Hopefully sophomore year will guide her on the right path to success.

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