The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

Junior Sabrina Mari Alberty prepares for her solo during Sound’s “Kiss of the Femme Fatale” set at Spotlight Parent Preview Night. “Those extra practices really helped pull us together and refine everything so that it was ready,” Mari Alberty said. Parent Preview Night took place on Feb 1, 2024.
A shining silver spotlight
Gavin Auger and Emerson ElledgeFebruary 22, 2024

Black excellence in country music
Black excellence in country music
Katrell Readus, Opinion Editor • February 22, 2024

With Black History Month in full swing, controversy around Beyoncé's new country songs and my long-standing love for a good pair of cowboy boots,...

Classroom classics
Classroom classics
Riley McWilliams, Business Manager • February 20, 2024

Throughout a student's high school career, they’ll read a variety of books ranging from Shakespearean plays to thrilling novels. However, many...

Schedule psychology
Schedule psychology
Tanner Guillot, Reporter • February 14, 2024

Tanner Guillot is a senior and a reporter for the Fishers Tiger Times. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.      Every...

Peeling back the layers of modern day animation
Peeling back the layers of modern day animation
Evie Briar, Sports Editor • February 14, 2024

Evie Briar is a junior and the Sports Editor for the Fishers Tiger Times. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.      The...

FAFSA transformed

Changes to FAFSA affect filing and aid eligibility
FAFSA+transformed

Madelyn Lerew is a senior and the Online Editor for the Fishers Tiger Times. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

    After the stress and worries of applying to and choosing a college begin to come to a close a whole new avenue of distress appears, how to pay for your degree. One of the biggest helping hands for students is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This year FAFSA has undergone significant changes to its form and release date. Originally slated to be released late December it did not soft launch until Jan. 1, 2024, leading to some students not being able to access it until a few days into the new year. 

    Many changes were made to FAFSA including a shortened number of questions and differences in what qualifies a student for certain amounts of aid. The length of the form was reduced this year from a staggering 108 questions to a mere 36, according to Forbes. This change is meant to help the Department of Education with the changes that are being made to what is included in their lending formulas. The changes being made are reflected in a new name for the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which has been dubbed the Student Aid Index (SAI). According to CBS News the SAI index ranges from -1500 to 999999, with a student with a SAI of zero or below qualifying for the maximum Federal Pell Grant. 

    Due to the changes to the calculation of aid and the new SAI an increased number of students will be eligible for Pell Grants. Pell Grants unlike loans, do not have to be repaid and are one of the best ways to help reduce college costs. In a released statement the U.S. Department of Education said, “Pell Grant eligibility will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level. These changes will help significantly expand access to federal student aid. Approximately 610,000 new students from low-income backgrounds will receive Pell Grants, driven primarily by the changes to these eligibility rules. Moreover, Pell recipients will receive more aid with nearly 1.5 million more students receiving the maximum Pell Grant.” Specifically in Indiana 14,175 more students will be eligible for Pell Grants and 30,249 more students will be eligible for the maximum grant. This increase in Pell Grant recipients is a huge win for students and a major improvement of the FAFSA. Lowering the requirements for families to receive this kind of aid helps to make college more accessible to those who have trouble footing the ever-increasing bill of higher education. 

    Another major change to the FAFSA is something that actually has the potential to hurt students from larger families, this is the elimination of the sibling discount. Previously families with multiple students in college would receive a reduction in their EFC due to the strain of parents and guardians trying to support multiple children and their tuitions. An article in the Journal of Financial Service Professionals best explains this with an example of a family’s FAFSA before and after the recent changes. Previously a family with an EFC of $60,000 with two kids in college would have an EFC of $30,000 per student. If the sticker price of each institution was $55,000 and $35,000 then the family would demonstrate $35,000 of need. With the updated form the EFC of each student would remain at $60,000 meaning the family demonstrates zero financial need.

    The importance of filling out the FAFSA can not be overstated for students planning on attending college. Concern that they might not be eligible for any financial aid stops students from applying, causing some to miss out on crucial aid. According to the Research in Higher Education Journal, “Parents’ or student’s own income reduces the probability that a given student completes FAFSA. Many eligible, lower to middle-income students do not complete FAFSA and forgo significant amounts of financial aid. Also, female and minority students are more likely to complete FAFSA. Whites, males, independent students, residents and upperclassmen are less likely to apply for aid even when they are eligible.” Filling out the FAFSA has always been important, but with the increase in aid for lower and middle-income families, the incentive is even higher. 

    Regardless of whether the new changes to the FAFSA benefit or hurt chances of aid, filling out the form is one of the most important things an incoming freshman can due to prepare for their future. With tuition prices on the rise and student loans having the potential to cripple future financial security it is important to try to lower the sticker price as much as possible. So with all this in mind if you are planning on attending a university next year I suggest filling out this form as soon as possible due to the positive impact it can have on your future.

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About the Contributor
Madelyn Lerew, Online Editor
Madelyn Lerew is a senior at Fishers High School. She is a drum major for the marching band and enjoys hanging out with her friends.

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