OHIO — College-bound students can expect additional changes to the federal student aid application, also known as the FAFSA, later this year. 

What You Need To Know

  • The application now has just over 30 questions to make it easier on families 

  • Legislation for the changes passed in 2020, but the impact on families could result in loss of aid for some

  • The federal government has indicated the new FAFSA application process will open in December, which is later than normal

Jefferson Blackburn-Smith, executive vice president for strategic initiatives at Otterbein University, said while some questions have been eliminated, "it does shift some of that work then to universities to go back. We still in Ohio, for example, need to verify that a male student has registered for secret service in order to be eligible for the Ohio need-based aid.”

While the scaling back is supposed to make things easier for families, there is concern that students with siblings or families with a farm or small business could lose out on potential assistance. 

“At Otterbein University, we've done some crosswalk between the new student aid indicator score and the older, expected family contribution score, that we're actually seeing significantly more students may be eligible for federal and state need-based aid," said Blackburn-Smith.

That being said, Blackburn-Smith believes students overall can expect the changes to be positive.

“We will be very careful about changing aids we award based on a new metric that we have no history with," Blackburn-Smith said. "So we will examine very carefully all the pieces involved in it.” 

According to the federal government, the rollout of the FAFSA application with the new changes will be available in December.

“You're not using your 2023 taxes. You're using the already completed 2022 taxes to complete the form. So, as soon as it's available, families won't need to wait on anything else," Blackburn-Smith said.