New FAFSA is frustrating families, but credit unions can help with flexible funding

As the father of two college sophomores, I’m no stranger to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The most important piece of the college funding puzzle, the FAFSA is used to determine financial need and must be completed each year for a student to be considered for financial aid to cover the costs of their education.

The 2024-25 FAFSA was to be simplified and offer expanded access to federal aid. However, after a rocky rollout, families continue to find themselves frustrated by the new experience. While the form itself may be simpler, answers to critical questions like how much aid a student will receive – and when exactly they will find out – are still far from clear.

This year’s FAFSA has followed a troublesome timeline:

October 1 – The FAFSA typically opens for the upcoming academic year but was delayed for 2024-25 due to updates.

December 30, 2023 – Soft rollout of the FAFSA actually began.

January 2024 – It was revealed that an inflation adjustment problem could jeopardize the amount of aid some students received. As of Jan. 30, 2024, officials said the inflation problem would be corrected, but this would delay the financial aid process further.

Mid-March 2024 – FAFSA data will be sent to schools. The problem? This is when student financial aid award letters are typically arriving to help families make college decisions.

Mid-May – This year’s award letters likely will not be sent until mid-May, meaning families will be gathering information at a time when they have normally been selecting and committing to a college.

How credit unions can help

Ask any member with teens and it will quickly become clear that credit unions need to be helping families navigate the confusing and stressful college planning process. And most importantly, offering a loan solution that helps them bridge the financial gap that often remains after family savings, scholarships, and federal student loans have been exhausted. As we know, credit unions put members first and can often provide greater flexibility in their funding options.

CU Student Choice’s private education line of credit allows students and families to establish their line at any time – even if they’re unsure of their final amount needed or the school they’ll be attending – and then return later to complete the process. This flexibility is unique and could prove critically important to families waiting in limbo this academic year and help fast-track their approval process during a tight timeline.

This year’s FAFSA is full of problems, but credit unions can be part of the solution. Contact us to learn more about how CU Student Choice can make it simple to offer customized student lending solutions that benefit your current and future members.

 

Contact the author: CU Student Choice

Contact the author: CU Student Choice

Michael Weber

Michael Weber

As the Chief Marketing Officer, Michael not only builds awareness of Student Choice within the credit union industry but also works directly with client credit unions and business partners to ... Web: www.studentchoice.org Details