WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly referred to as FAFSA, will not open on Oct. 1 this year.
The U.S. Department of Education has pushed back FAFSA enrollment to December as the form undergoes significant changes.
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority‘s Solanchi Fernandez said the overhaul is expected to streamline the application process and expand overall eligibility.
“We don’t want parents to get nervous and create too much anxiety,” Fernandez said, adding that the new FAFSA will work in tandem with the IRS.
Fernandez said the changes could result in a number of students receiving a dramatic increase in the money they’re awarded. She expects the updated FAFSA to expand student qualifications for the Pell Grant.
“That’s free money that you don’t have to pay back,” she said of the Pell Grant. “We like to get families as much as free money as possible.”
Noel Simpson, who also works at the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, tells 12 News parents can still begin preparing for the application process by creating an account.
“One of the first things [parents] should do is register for and get a FSA ID from the U.S. Department of Education,” he said.
Though the updated form is slated to be launched in December, an exact date for its release has not yet been set. The U.S. Department of Education said it will notify families via email once the application is live.