Officials with the Iowa College Student Aid Commission (Iowa College Aid), says recent changes have been made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that take effect with the 2015-2015 form. The changes to the FAFSA for the 2014-15 academic year have to do with the financial information that dependent students are required to provide for their parent(s).
Most traditional-aged, college-bound students are considered dependent and must include financial information for both themselves as well as their parents when completing the FAFSA. Beginning with the 2014-15 FAFSA, dependent students are now required to include income and other financial information from their legal parents (biological or adoptive) regardless of the parents’ marital status or gender, if those parents live together. Additionally, the FAFSA will now use terms like “Parent 1 (father/mother/stepparent)” and “Parent 2 (father/mother/stepparent)” instead of gender-specific terms. Previously, the FAFSA was constructed to collect information about both of adependent student’s parents only if the parents were married.
The FAFSA is a standardized application used to determine eligibility for federal grants, loans and work-study funds from the federal government. In addition, many colleges and states, including Iowa, use FAFSA information when determining eligibility for institutional and state financial aid programs.
Iowa College Aid urges all college-bound students to complete the FAFSA regardless of their financial situations. The collection of FAFSA information for both of a dependent student’s unmarried parents when both parents are living together will not impact the majority of federal student aid applicants. Almost 60 percent of FAFSA filers are independent, and therefore, not impacted by these changes. Another 20 percent, while dependent are not impacted as their parents are married. A portion of the remainder will also not be impacted because the parent with whom the student resides does not live with the student’s other legal parent.
Students and families who have questions about applying for financial aid, or are interested in learning more about the resources available for college and career planning can contact Iowa College Aid at 877-272-4456. Additional resources for Iowa families as they plan, prepare and pay for college are available on Iowa College Aid’s website, www.IowaCollegeAid.gov.