Every year, students who want to receive federal funding for higher education need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA. Each year, the form is mostly the same, but the 2021-2022 forms have had some changes.

Students
Students have to complete the FAFSA each year to be eligible for scholarships and grants. Photo credit: Pixabay

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FAFSA has made some slight changes that may affect students. While the type of information needed to fill out the form is still the same, this form will use information from students’ or parents’ 2019 tax forms. Those filling it out still have the option to do it online or mail in a printed form.

Because the form will use 2019 tax numbers, those who’ve lost jobs or whose income drastically changed because of COVID will not be effected.

One of the other changes on the 2021-22 form is the expected family contribution of zero rose from an annual income of $26,000 to $27,000. This means that families who make $27,000 or less will be expected to make no contribution to their child’s tuition while families who make $27,001 and above will have an EFC toward their child’s college tuition.

If a student or their parents have and EFC of zero, they will receive the maximum amount of aid available through federal financial aid. As income increases above $27,000, less aid will be offered to those students.

The earlier a student submits a FAFSA, the better chance a student will receive federal, state and university aid.

The FAFSA opened on Oct. 1, 2020, and each college will have their own deadline for when a FAFSA needs to be submitted by. WSU’s priority deadline is on April 1.

Even if students feel they may not be eligible for aid, filling out the application is free, so even if you don’t receive aid now, it could make sure you get the aid you deserve in future semesters. Students may also not be eligible for any other scholarships or grants if the FAFSA is not filled out.

Once a FAFSA is submitted, WSU will review the application and may ask students for more information. Once the application has been processed and is ready to be accepted, students will need to log into their eWeber portal and select the correct aid year and accept or decline aid they will use towards the coming semesters.

Once students receive federal aid, the process isn’t over. Students still must stay in good academic standing to keep their aid. Other policies for maintaining financial aid can be found at the Weber State Financial Aid website

Students who are worried about filling our their forms or have questions can find help across campus. The Weber State Money Management Center has resources to help students with the FAFSA and other grant and scholarship sources. Their website also has resources for taxes, stimulus relief checks and unemployment due to COVID.

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