The 2023-2024 FAFSA is Going to Be a Nightmare, Coach. Here's What To Do...
This is something that’ll be affecting coaches from all levels and sports soon, if it isn’t already. So take a minute to read this.
From an article in Higher Ed Dive:
The U.S. Department of Education is overhauling the Free Application for Federal Student Aid this year, but the agency plans to roll out the new form in December — two months later than usual. That delay could cause issues for college administrators and states, financial aid experts say.
The new FAFSA represents the first major redesign of the form in over 40 years. The revamp intends to create a more streamlined process for students applying for federal financial aid, expands Pell Grant eligibility and lower barriers for certain student populations, including those who are homeless, incarcerated and come from low-income backgrounds.
But the delay could affect state and institutional financial aid deadlines, require colleges to increase staffing, and impact students’ college decisions.
Dang it, we almost made it out of the first three paragraphs without any scraps or scratches. But alas, what we’re talking about will impact students’ college decisions.
That means many student-athlete college decisions will be impacted.
Which means it’ll impact you, Coach.
More from the article:
Several aspects of the FAFSA simplification will also add burdens for financial aid officers, such as new reporting requirements and changes to the federal aid methodology formula, said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, in an email. And, he added, financial aid offices nationwide are already experiencing significant staffing shortages.
“Financial aid offices are certainly feeling the pressure,” Draeger said. “These are the most significant changes to the way students and families apply for and receive financial aid in decades, and they’re happening on a tight timeline.”
Indeed, only 28% of financial aid professionals believed their institution was mostly or completely prepared for the FAFSA simplification rollout, according to a February NASFAA survey.
Fantastic news, right? So for more than 7 out of 10 of you, whatever normal slow-moving process you have to wade through every year on campus will be multiplied this year (fortunately, the FAFSA start date rolls back to October next year for your class of 2025).
The delay will force financial aid officers to complete their work in a compressed time frame, said Frank Ballmann, director of federal relations for the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs.
“In effect, they’re going to be working twice as hard, twice as long as they normally would,” said Ballmann. “That’s going to be a huge challenge for them.”
For many of you, you’re already seeing the storm clouds brewing on the horizon and/or have been advised in your early fall meetings that things are going to be different this year. For some of you, this is the first you’re hearing about it.
Regardless, for any coaches who aren’t awarding full ride athletic scholarships to their Class of 2024 prospects, there are some smart ways to approach this that I strongly recommend:
Four Priorities for Maneuvering the New FAFSA Process
1. Explain what the process is - and how it has changed.
So, so important for athletes to understand…it’s going to be slightly different, school to school, so make sure they understand the dates and deadlines at your college. Make sure to also explain how it’s different this year, and let them know it’ll be going back to an earlier timeline next year. And, follow that up with a letter (not an email, not a phone call, not a text…a typed and mailed hard copy letter like they used to send in the olden days) to their parents.
They are the drivers of the process most of the time, and one mistake we see coaches making all the time is excluding parents from the insider workings of a college’s process. Let your competition make that mistake. You do it the right way, Coach.
(And if you want more info on how to wrap-in the parents to these kinds of conversations, click here for a great selection of articles we’ve put together).
2. Give them an understanding of how you view them, and what you think they’re worth.
When we’re talking about money, it all relates to perceived value to the buyer (your prospect). So, when you don’t offer as much money as a competitor, one thing prospects (and their parents) come away with often is a feeling like “you don’t want
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