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FAFSA applications available Oct. 1, what you need to know about changes this year

The FAFSA just opened: Why you should apply now
Posted at 4:55 AM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 07:55:52-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The FAFSA can be a complex form that students need to submit every year to qualify for financial aid. By not completing the form or completing it incorrectly, students could be leaving money on the table.

Last year, Congress approved the FAFSA Simplification Act in hopes of making the FAFSA form easier to understand and increasing eligibility for low-income students.

However, these changes will be slow-moving, leaving this year's form relatively the same.

One change the Federal Student Aid Office noted is in regards to selective service registration and drug convictions for applicants.

In June the office announced that while it was too late to remove those questions from the form, college campuses have been advised how to process forms to eliminate the effect of the questions.

The act also looks to eliminate around two-thirds of the questions in the financial aid process — including questions surrounding expected family contribution.

“Up to 22 FAFSA questions and require the Department of Education and IRS to work together, do some of the heavy lifting for students by sharing the taxpayer information required for FAFSA completion,” said Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who authored the bill.

The office is taking a phased approach and these changes won’t take effect for the next few years.

The application for FAFSA opens Friday, Oct. 1, and already financial and academic institutions are offering assistance.

Starting Oct. 8, Bakersfield College will hold live FAFSA workshops via Facebook. Live workshops will take place at 12:00 and 7:00 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Thurs. October 8
  • Wed. October 14
  • Wed. October 21
  • Wed. October 28

You can also reach out to the Youth-2-Leaders Education Foundation — a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting low-income students to navigate financial aid.

Most importantly, the Federal Student Aid Office says students should apply, even if they don’t think they will qualify or have not decided on their plans after high school.