FAFSA UPDATE: AS OF 2/2/2024

Stars Scholarship Fund will extend the deadline for the FAFSA Submission Summary document ONLY to May 1st for applicants who APPLY AND SEND IN ALL OTHER REQUIRED DOCUMENTS by the original APRIL 1ST at 5pm CST deadline. The extension only applies to the one FSS document.

What happened

  • The FAFSA was overhauled in 2023 by congressional mandate to simplify the process and expand aid eligibility. A soft launch of the new application was released December 31, 2023.
  • On Tuesday, January 30 the Department of Education (ED) announced an error was made in the underlying calculations that affect the new Student Aid Index (SAI), which determines a student’s aid eligibility.
  • ED forgot to account for inflation in the income protection allowance portion of the need analysis calculation, resulting in inaccurate SAI’s.
  • An income protection allowance is a certain amount of income that doesn’t get counted when figuring out the type of financial aid you qualify for.
  • Technical issues are affecting mixed-status students.
  • The Online TASFA is not currently available. TASFA applicants usually include students who are non-citizens or non-permanent residents of the United States.

What it Means

  • The Department of Education (ED) will be correcting the error in the need formula to account for inflation, potentially increasing financial aid eligibility by almost 1.8 million overall for students!
  • The 3.1+ million students who already completed the FAFSA, and those who plan to, will automatically have their Student Aid Index (SAI) recalculated.
  • Applicants will not be able to make corrections to their FAFSA until applications have been reprocessed and ED can transmit FAFSA data.
  • At this time ED has not released an official date that the correction will be made, or applications reprocessed.
  • Mixed-status students and families are currently unable to complete the FAFSA form due to technical issues. A student may start the application, but parents without SSNs will not be able to contribute the parent information. The student and parent will be able to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA form online once the issue is resolved.
  • TASFA applicants are encouraged to completed the paper TASFA to ensure access to state financial aid funding.

What to Expect

  • Due to the required updated, the Department of Education (ED) has announced that FAFSA data is not expected to be processed and sent to institutions, state agencies and designated scholarship organizations until the first half of March.
  • Financial aid offices across the country cannot begin creating financial aid offers for students until a completed FAFSA is received from ED.
  • Stars Scholarship Fund does depend on the SAI to determine financial need when reviewing applications, therefore we are staying informed of this FAFSA process and will be making adjustments to our deadlines accordingly.
  • We will continue providing updates as we learn them so you can stay informed. Do not let this discourage you from applying for the 2024-2025 Stars Scholarship.

What You Can Do

  • Check with your college/university to learn more about their deadlines.
  • If you haven’t applied already, get prepared to complete the FAFSA by determining who your contributors are and ensure that their Federal Student Aid (FSA) accounts are created. Gather the documents required AND start the FAFSA process. Plan to complete the FAFSA by April 1st.
  • Apply for Stars Scholarship Fund application by April 1 at 5pm CST and submit your official college transcript (or college board report), your personal statement along with your application by the deadline of April 1.
  • Stars Scholarship Fund will accept the FAFSA Submission Summary until May 1, 2024 for applicants who submitted their Stars Scholarship application and all other required documents by the original deadline of April 1 at 5pm CST.
  • Students can access the Paper TASFA on College for All Texas. The 2024-25 paper Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA), in English and Spanish, can also be be accessed on the TASFA webpage.