Financial aid forms set to see changes

Previous drug convictions will no longer mean students are ineligible 

Changes have been made to the latest version of Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. 

The Department of Education released the first phased update on Oct. 1. There will continue to be smaller changes in the near future but for now the Department of Education has decided to take a phased approach.

“The Department of Education is always looking for ways to make it easier for students to complete FAFSA,” said Joseph Ruiz, director of Financial Aid Services. 

Ruiz encourages applicants to apply as soon as possible.

The Department of Education reduced the number of questions and also changed many of the visual looks to the application. 

One of the biggest changes is that applicants with previous drug convictions will now be eligible to receive aid. Although the question will still be included on the application, “it’s not going to make a difference, you will still receive financial aid,” Ruiz said.

Overall, the new changes that have been made have been received in a “very positive way” by the community, Ruiz said. The changes have made it simpler for students to apply and have also brought in a whole new range of applicants to be eligible for aid.  

Ruiz encourages applicants to apply as soon as possible because if a student qualifies for a Pell Grant it is guaranteed, but all other grants and scholarships are “subject to availability on a first come, first serve basis,” he said.

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