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The Antelope

The Antelope

FAFSA changes lead to complications, frustrations


Many students rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to help them in paying for college. Their academic future lies in the hands of the FAFSA.

Recent changes to the FAFSA have caused many frustrations and challenges for students.

The FAFSA Simplification Act was implemented for the 2024-25 award year to help make the process easier. Yet, delays pushed the application’s opening from October to late December. Information regarding FAFSA submissions or financial aid isn’t expected until at least mid-March. 

While the changes to the FAFSA will eventually make the process smoother, we recognize the difficulties it is currently causing students.

We met with Brad Green, associate director of the Office of Financial Aid at UNK, to learn more about the changes and give recommendations to students on how to navigate the process.

Our team sees the potential complications that the FAFSA delay may have caused for students when applying for scholarships. Some scholarships require a Student Aid Index number, which used to be known as the Expected Family Contribution. This number is used to determine how much financial aid a student receives.

As students await their FAFSA results, Green suggested using the FAFSA estimator on If a student’s FAFSA information is not available yet, the Office of Financial Aid can use the estimator for UNK scholarships that require an SAI.

Green also recommends that students use the estimator to give them an idea of whether or not they are Pell Grant eligible.

One of the biggest changes to the FAFSA is that students and their contributors have to have an FSA ID account and complete their own section of the FAFSA. Students previously filled in their family’s information.

Our staff is worried about the difficulties this may cause students who have complicated relationships with their families. We were relieved to hear that there is a process in place for circumstances like this.

Green said one of the questions on the FAFSA asks if a student reaching out to their parents or legal guardian would cause harm or harm to the relationship. If the student marks yes, the Office of Financial Aid will go through a process to determine if there can be a dependency override. In this instance, they will change the student from dependent to independent, which doesn’t require contributor information.

The Antelope recommends visiting the Office of Financial Aid if a student has any questions, runs into a problem or would like help filling out the FAFSA. Green said their office is happy to help students and families with the FAFSA process.

Additionally, we suggest all students apply for the FAFSA. Green said the FAFSA changes included a change in the formula on how need is determined. A student’s eligibility may have changed even if they did not receive financial aid in the past.

In the meantime, we encourage Lopers to be patient and keep in contact with the Office of Financial Aid. With any change comes adjusting to and learning how to navigate that change. While the process may not be smooth sailing this go around, we are hopeful that the modifications will help more Lopers financially.

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