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Changes to FAFSA causing big headaches for students and families

Delay in FAFSA forms causing big headaches for families

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A delay in federal financial aid forms is causing big headaches for families with students going to college in the fall.

All potential students are advised to fill out the financial aid, or FAFSA, application, as it will determine if students can get financial aid from the federal government to pay for college.

But for about three years, the Department of Education has been working on a major overhaul of the FAFSA.

Some updates include users accessing the application in 11 different languages, and reducing the number of questions for students from 108 to as few as 18.

Students can send applications to up to 20 schools. That’s expected to boost the number of lower-income students eligible for federal Pell grants, which do not need to be repaid.

Additionally, a tool connected with the I.R.S. also allows applicants to pull tax data from their parents’ most recent income tax filings to help determine aid. The tool can also pull tax data from the student, as well.

Karen McCarthy, the vice president of public policy with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, says the update might mean students will get their financial aid offers later than usual.

Typically, students complete the FAFSA applications by December, but this delay could cause problems for both students and colleges.

McCarthy said, “They will be scrambling to get those turned around so that students and families have an adequate amount of time so that they can consider all of their options and make their enrollment decision.”

The department has not yet said when the application will be fully released.

To speed along your FAFSA process, create an ID online at It will take one to three days to get confirmation to apply.