February 22, 2019

Webster hosts FAFSA frenzy amid changes to financial aid process

To kick off Financial Aid Awareness Month, Webster University will host a FAFSA Frenzy at the end of February. The frenzy is a statewide organized effort by the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) to assist parents and students on how to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The frenzy event has provided assistance to more than 16,000 students in Missouri since 2004. Students who attend the event can enter for a chance to win a scholarship at a Missouri college, university or postsecondary institution for the fall 2016 term.

On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced important changes to the FAFSA procedure that could impact students across the country. The changes will began to take effect beginning for the 2017-2018 academic year for prospective and returning students.

Jim Myers, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, attended the National Federal Student Conference in December, provided by the MDHE. He said the only answer to filing FAFSA is to start the process earlier.

“There’s a lot of variation of this thing,” Myers said “and a lot of questions that the Department of Education hasn’t answered.”

FAFSA is used to determine if a student qualifies for any grants, scholarship and loans. The MDHE calculated nearly $2.3 billion in federal financial aid for students who studied in-state for the 2013-2014 academic year.

In the past, financial information had been collected by the federal government by March 1.

“It allows them to get an idea if everything else falls in place and allowing all institutions would be able to put together financial award packages earlier,” Myers said.

Students and parents will be able to report tax information from an earlier year because of the changes.

“The benefit of that and the benefits for the families is that instead of waiting for taxes to be done, they already will be done,” Myers said. “For most families, not all, because there are certain stipulations where they may not be able to use the IRS data retrieval tool within the FAFSA.”

Myers said every student should understand what the changes are and how it will affect them. He said the earlier submission date will allow students to file their FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year.

The frenzy event will be hosted on Webster’s home campus on Feb. 28 from 2-4 p.m. In addition, Webster will also host additional financial aid events Feb. 6 and Feb. 20 from 1-4 p.m. To register for the event, visit http://www.webster.edu/financialaid/fafsa-event.html.

For more information visit, www.fafsa.ed.gov.

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