Changes Coming To Improve Access To Financial Aid At WVC
More students at Wenatchee Valley College will qualify for some form of financial aid thanks to changes in a federal application process.
The U.S. Department of Education is revising the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (WASFA) form to expand eligibility for federal student aid and to offer a more streamlined experience.
WVC financial aid director Michael Hicks says it's going to make more low-income people eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants.
“They’re basically changing the calculation process to find how much they will qualify for in aid,” said Hicks. “So, those with low-income backgrounds, more will be eligible than with the previous calculations.”
The changes on the process will start Saturday for WVC students who are applying for financial aid in the 2024-25 school year.
Hicks says there are numerous examples of how more people can get aid.
“Incarcerated people used to not be able to qualify for federal funding but now they can,” Hicks said. “It used to be that you weren’t able to qualify for federal funding if you were a male over (the age of) 18 and didn’t register for selective service. But that’s not part of the process anymore.”
The WVC Financial Aid Office is in the process of revising the financial aid web pages to reflect the FAFSA changes.
Revisions to the FAFSA website include:
- making more students from low-income backgrounds eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants
- providing an early estimate of potential federal student aid after submitting the form
- having a spouse or step-parent participate in the application process as a contributor. A contributor is anyone who is responsible for the living expenses of the student. The contributor's financial condition will determine the student’s eligibility for aid.
- transferring federal tax information directly from the IRS into the form
- consenting to and approving the transfer of federal tax information
- creating a StudentAid.gov account for applicants and their contributors
- allowing contributors who don’t have a social security number to create a StudentAid.gov account
- sending the FAFSA to up to 20 colleges and universities
- skipping up to 26 questions depending on individuals’ circumstances, which could shorten the completion time.
Hicks that the financial aid office will offer a FAFSA and a Washington State WASFA application night in mid-January to assist students and their families with the FAFSA process. The application night will be announced soon.
WASFA applications will have the same changes as the federal application, although there's less funding available at the state level.
The changes are coming through the FASFA Simplification Act.
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