Fort Worth college students voice concerns about new federal financial aid form

dfwnewsa | February 6, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Fort Worth college students voice concerns about new federal financial aid form

College students enjoy a sunny day on campus. Some students have expressed concern about the redesigned FAFSA form for 2024-25. (Courtesy photo | Texas Wesleyan University)
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Filling out the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid form wasn’t a “streamlined” process for Texas Wesleyan freshman Roger Salazar. 

The 2024-25 FAFSA form was changed to create an easier experience for applicants. However, some students don’t feel great about the redesigned form.

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The questions were just too general, Salazar said.

“I had to contact them a couple of times,” he said. “They don’t give you the specific line or name that they need from the taxes form.”

The 2023 form had more questions and took more time but Salazar found it easier to complete, he said.

“I was just like, ‘I guess I’m doing well and everything is fine,’” Salazar said.

Texas Wesleyan junior Aalyah Villarreal gets all of her news from TikTok and heard that a lot of changes were made, she said.

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“They’re talking about how it changed from this style to this style, and I don’t even know what any of that means,” she said.

The new form expands eligibility for student aid. As many as 610,000 new students are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants, according to the federal government. On the 2022-23 application, students were prompted with 106 questions to fill out. Now, some applicants can answer as few as 18 questions because of the new process. 

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Villarreal hasn’t completed her FAFSA, but she hasn’t heard positive things about the site.

“I heard that it closed randomly, and people weren’t able to fill it out,” Villarreal said.

Texas Wesleyan freshman Jordyn Denham has never filled out the FAFSA form. Sitting across from Villarreal, she talked about what she’s heard online. Denham shrugged.

“I’ve heard it’s a mess,” Denham said.

The FAFSA launch date was set for Dec. 31, 2023. However, due to the U.S. Department of Education “soft-launching” the form, periods of unavailability may occur for website maintenance.

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Salazar encouraged students to stay in touch with FAFSA support members as they complete their applications. While support took time to respond, they knew exactly how to answer his questions, he said.

“Don’t guess,” Salazar said. “If you don’t know, ask.”

Keyla Holmes is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at keyla.holmes@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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