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Lafayette High School news. Student-run.

The Lancer Feed

Rockwood School District is currently writing a curriculum for a new womens history course, which will be offered in the 2025-2026 school year. Social studies teacher Jodie Lee will teach it at LHS.
Women's history course to be offered during 2025-2026 school year
April 9, 2024
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FAFSA deadlines delayed due to congressional push to make changes

In+order+to+meet+Federal+Student+Aid+application+deadlines%2C+many+local+resources%2C+including+Lafayette+counselors%2C+are+available+for+one-on-one+meetings.+Even+if+you+think+your+college+is+paid+for%2C+we+still+heavily+recommend+going+ahead+and+filing+the+FAFSA+so+that+you+dont+lose+out+on+any+opportunities%2C+College+and+Career+counselor+Alex+Dusenberry+said.+A+lot+of+four+year+universities+say+you+can+only+get+scholarships+if+you+complete+the+FASFA.+%5BAlso%5D%2C+it+is+a+requirement+that+you+complete+the+FSA+in+order+to+get+A%2B+credit.%0A
Infographic By Ammu Lanka
In order to meet Federal Student Aid application deadlines, many local resources, including Lafayette counselors, are available for one-on-one meetings. “Even if you think your college is paid for, we still heavily recommend going ahead and filing the FAFSA so that you don’t lose out on any opportunities,” College and Career counselor Alex Dusenberry said. “A lot of four year universities say you can only get scholarships if you complete the FASFA. [Also], it is a requirement that you complete the FSA in order to get A+ credit.”

*Update: As of last week, the Department of Education announced that FAFSA forms will not be sent to colleges and universities until the first half of March. According to USA Today, this is due the form inaccurately adjusting to family income changes due to inflation.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid applications for the 2024-2025 school year officially opened Dec. 31, months later than the usual date of Oct. 1. This delay led to the priority deadline in Missouri changing to April 1 instead of Feb. 1. However, due to the delays and changes, many students have faced issues with the application process.

Federal Student Aid was working to ensure that they could implement all the changes that have been passed by Congress over the last few years. They were not able to get those changes all together before the typical launch date of Oct. 1,” Teresa Steinkamp, Director of Advising at The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, said.

FAFSA changes
Form Changes Made By FSA
  • Students must invite parents/guardians as contributors to provide information on the form. Everyone must create a FSA ID of their own and provide consent for the IRS to transfer tax information to FAFSA
  • Social Security Number is not a requirement for students or contributors anymore
Federal Fund Calculation Changes Made By FSA
  • Fund calculations aren't based on the Expected Family Contribution, but a system called the Student Aid Index because it was previously misinterpreted as the amount of contribution families had to make to FAFSA. The name change was made to clarify its purpose of calculating student eligibility for funds
  • FAFSA no longer considers whether or not a student has a sibling enrolled as part of the calculation--this means that students with siblings will have the same SAI as if they were only child

 

 The multiple changes to the application form and FAFSA’s fund calculation methods this year were primarily due to Congress passing three new laws relating to FAFSA.

Bills influencing FAFSA changes
Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education(FUTURE) Act

 

  • requires Federal Student Aid to use data directly from the IRS, therefore Federal Student Aid made it mandatory for all contributors to provide consent
  • additional aspects of the bill sought to expand access to FAFSA, which has been implemented on a rolling basis over the years

 

FAFSA Simplifications Act
  • addresses which questions are asked in application
  • addresses Student Aid ID and who can create an ID
  • who can access the form--led to Federal Student Aid establishing the contributors aspect
  • changed eligibility calculation methods from EFC (Expected Family Contribution) to SAI(Student Aid Index)
FAFSA Simplications Act Technical Corrections Act
  • pushed back application opening date for 2024-2025
  • updated language on cost of attendance, affecting how colleges establish the budget that they use to award financial aid

Although the purpose of these laws changing the system was to make FAFSA applications more efficient for students in the future, Steinkamp says the changes aren’t as promising as they were expected to be.

“The FSA makes a lot of assumptions about what a student’s household or family looks like. Students whose household circumstances are unique have had a much more difficult time filling out the form,” she said. “A lot of the things that are being promoted as simpler or better are not necessarily going to have the kind of effect on making it easier for students and families that I think some people would have hoped.”

Despite the FSA’s efforts to make the process easier, many students are facing additional technical difficulties with the form’s functions.

“There are a number of known issues with FAFSA that Federal Student Aid really has to address in this application cycle. Until recent days, students and families weren’t able to access the form. [While completing the form], the website would give them an unknown error message and kick them out. Students have been trying to problem solve very strange glitches. As a student, if I log in, I’m supposed to invite my parent or parents to contribute and that is not working as seamlessly as it should,” Steinkamp said.

As deadlines for applications approached, senior Anna Harstick said she experienced inconvenience with the 2024-2025 process.

“My brother used FAFSA six years ago, but the email got messed up [for me because] it was different this year. It was stressful because I didn’t really know what was going on and the soft launch messed me up. Some schools had deadlines already and it was a mess,” Harstick said.

Harstick said the new form was confusing, which added to her anxiety of completing it on time.

“I wish it was sooner [and] the questions were easier to understand. They were [worded] strangely and it wasn’t entirely clear what they were saying,” she said.

If students are looking to give feedback to influence future changes with FAFSA applications, Steinkamp says students can contribute through reaching out to Congress.

“Some of these changes have to go through Congress,” Steinkamp said. “Typically, there are [also] draft FAFSA forms for folks to give feedback. But the next time [FAFSA is reviewed] will be much later this year,” Steinkamp said.

To tackle the potential glitches with the form, Steinkamp advises students to get help from local organizations like The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis and MOCAN, Missouri College Attainment Network.

“The Scholarship Foundation has a team of student advisors that [are] available to help students and families. We have a FAFSA Completion Clinic, but students are able to contact a member of our student advising team to schedule a one-on-one FAFSA appointment,” Steinkamp said. “This can be an anxiety-inducing process. I want students to know that there are people who know that and who really do want to help and support them in completing the forms.” 

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Ammu Lanka, News Staff
Grade: Junior Pronouns: She/Her Years on Staff: 2 Hobbies and Interests: reading, creative writing, Carnatic music, violin, history, space Favorite Quote: “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” - Helen Keller Favorite Hot Take: Pepsi and Coca-Cola taste the same. Fun Fact: I have eleven distinguishable birthmarks on my face.
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