There’s a hitch in the financial aid process this year, to be honest, it is a bit of a mess. The Department of Education is updating the process. The change started a few years ago and it is taking a bit longer than anticipated to complete. As of today, the FAFSA will be available sometime in December. The new design will be streamlined. We have asked our clients to get us the necessary information by October 15.
One change in the process is the required verification for FSA usernames. Previously usernames could be created as the form was being submitted, now there is a verification period of at least 3 days. Until we see the actual forms and calculations we will not know the full impact of the changes. It has been suggested that businesses and farms may be affected. The most significant change may affect divorced/separated parents. Previously the form was filled out based on where the majority of time was spent, it has been proposed that it will take in account the parent who provided more financial support.
There are a number of schools that require a CSS-Profile. Please note, those schools are typically more selective. The CSS-Profile is available through the college board website and requires information from both the custodial and noncustodial parents. The form is a deep dive into the financials of the family. Along with the CSS-Profile, there is often a request for additional verification or information that comes via the IDOC. The IDOC is also managed by the college board website. There is a fee for the submission of the CSS-Profile report of $25 for first and an additional $16 for each additional school.
With regards to deadlines, schools are making slight adjustments in deadlines. FAFSA may be due by January 15 but the CSS Profile may have a November deadline. We are asking our families to turn in their school list by October 15 so we can meet deadlines. Our senior families will be receiving an email and mailer later this week to clarify next steps.