Simpler FAFSA: what do Whitworth students need to know?

By William Henke | Staff Writer

Traci Stensland, assistant vice president of student financial services in her office at McEachran Hall at Whitworth University, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in Spokane, Wash. | Abraham Santiago/The Whitworthian

The new 2024-25 FAFSA is set to be released in late December, potentially delaying student’s financial aid offers. Due to a large number of changes, “It looks like the FAFSA for 24-25 will not open until the very end of Dec. [30 or 31],” said Assistant Vice President Traci Stensland of student financial services.

Because the FAFSA is opening at the end of the year instead of in October as it has in previous years, students will receive their financial aid offers later than usual. “[We’re] concerned about new students [not] having what they need to make decisions about colleges,” said Stensland.

The Student Financial Aid office has been working in anticipation of these new changes since the summer, but “I would anticipate offers being [sent out] a little bit later this year for returning students,” said Stensland. 

Students have been receiving regular emails from the Student Financial Aid office to keep them aware of changes to the FAFSA. “The form is going down from nine pages to three, so a lot of questions that they’ve been asked before won’t be there,” said Stensland. In addition, there are new questions and terminologies that will be unfamiliar to students who have previously filled out the FAFSA.  

According to the informational videos on the Federal Student Aid YouTube channel, the FAFSA should be easier since a lot of the tax information is sent in directly from the IRS after consent is given by a contributor. “Contributor” is a new term used in the 2024-25 FAFSA which encompasses students, guardians, parents and spouses of those registering for the FAFSA.  

Despite the term’s connotations, “Being identified as a contributor does not mean financial responsibility,” according to the Federal Student Aid video about contributors

“My biggest takeaway for any student right now: as soon as the FAFSA opens, go do it,” said Stensland. The sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the sooner you’ll receive a response. With the late opening of the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year, finding out what aid you qualify for is important.  

For more FAFSA Information, check out the Federal Student Aid’s FAFSA 2024-25 FAQ’s videos! 

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