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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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What you need to know about FAFSA

FAFSA Simplification rolls out on Dec. 31 with many changes.
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Changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that are anything but simple. 

The FAFSA, created in 1992, has been an essential component of paying for college and on Dec. 31 will have an updated glossary and formulas. 

The Department of Education has listed 34 new and old terms that will be the building blocks of FAFSA simplification. 

Junior Paulina Esparza heard about some of the changes while working at SMU Financial Literacy.  

She found that one of the most significant changes affected the term Estimated Family Contribution, or EFC.  

In her research, she found that EFC will be replaced by Student Aid Index and will change its formula. 

Esparza has two other siblings in college and said she was shocked to hear that the FAFSA no longer considers the amount of family members in college for federal aid. 

“We all kind of thought it was an unnecessary change, especially because it’s a lot of money and it’s a lot of financial burden since all three of us are in there,” Esparza said. “So, we thought it was something helpful and it seemed like they were removing a very important part of the FAFSA.”  

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool was an optional tool that allowed contributors to send their tax information directly from the IRS to the FAFSA form.  

Contributors are now required to use this tool which will be called the Future Act Direct Data exchange. 

Esparza thinks that this tool and eliminating many of the unnecessary questions will make filling out the FAFSA much quicker. 

“The whole process itself I am not too worried about when it comes to applying, its just like what the result is going to be,” Esparza said. 

The FAFSA will be shortened from more than 100 questions to 18 questions, said Nalia Medina, government relations and policy associate at National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a group that provides support for many financial aid offices. 

Medina said that with a lot of change, however, comes more eligibility for the Pell Grant and a simpler FAFSA application. 

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Guevara
Elizabeth Guevara, Deputy Managing Editor & Chief of Staff
As deputy managing editor and chief of staff, Elizabeth supervises all reporters and editors in conjunction with the EIC and managing editor to ensure reporter development and story coverage. She also regularly communicates with the writers and editors to keep a regular flow of stories in the newsroom.