Important FAFSA Changes

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ATTENTION: 

State Financial Aid Priority Deadline is Extended to May 15, 2024

The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) has extended the priority deadline to submit the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the MHEC One-App for undocu​mented students from March 15 to May 15, 2024.  

Students who complete and submit their FAFSA or MHEC One-App by the priority deadline are included in the initial round of awards in June of 2024.  

The awarding for 2024-2025 academic year will not begin until June of 2024. If applicable, students will have until June 15, 2024 to submit requested documentation for priority awarding.

The MHEC One-App is available in the student's Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) account. The MHEC One-app replaces the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) by including a section for undocumented applicants and all other applicants ineligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student  Aid (FAFSA) to apply for MHEC State aid programs.  

While students who are eligible to complete the FAFSA are not required to complete the MHEC One-App to be considered for the Guaranteed Access (GA), Educational Assistance (EA), and Maryland Community College Promise scholarship, all applicants may complete the One-App to apply for all of the other numerous grants, scholarships, and loan assistance repayment programs offered through MHEC. 

MHEC is currently in the process of updating the financial assistance webpage to reflect new information for the upcoming 2024-2025 award year. MHEC urges all students to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible and include at least one Maryland institution of higher education on the list of colleges.  Important: Students will not be considered for the Guaranteed Access (GA) or Educational Assistance (EA) grants unless a Maryland institution of higher education is listed on the FAFSA and students will not be considered for the Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship unless a Maryland community college is listed on the FAFSA.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email OSFA at fa​ohelp.mhec@maryland.gov.​


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​Recent UPDATES from the U.S. Department of Education

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You can now receive FAFSA Updates directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

​Follow the issues related to the 2024-25 FAFSA form that the U.S. Department of education is currently identifying and resolving by clicking on the 2024- 2025 FAFSA​ Issue Alerts.​​

Other Updates on FAFSA Across the Nation:​

Details Trickle Out About $50 Million FAFSA Support Fund​ - National Association​ of Student​ Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)​​

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​FAFSA News Updates

​​Updates on the FAFSA Delay - Talk to a MHEC Financial Aid Specialist ​​

MHEC helps Families Prepare for the FAFSA Delay

Eye on Annapolis Talks to MHEC on Keeping Families Updated​

​Maryland Higher Education Agency Working to ​​Guide​ Students Through FAFSA Process - WMAR

The University System of Maryland on FAFSA Delays Affecting May 1st Decision Day​

Live, Interactive Financial Aid Discussion on Maryland Scholarships and Grants​

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More St​udents in Maryland will be Eligible for Pell Grants

While this year's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is delayed, it will extend federal student aid eligibility to an additional 610,000 students from low-income backgrounds, paving the way for more opportunities through Federal Pell Grants.

In Maryland, the impact of the updated FAFSA shows an increase of 7,398 in Maryland Pell recipients, increasing the number of maximum Pell recipients in the state to 20,310 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

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Understand the New Deadlines

 The Maryland Higher Education Commission has extended the Maryland financial aid deadline to submit the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to June 1, 2024.  

However, students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 1, 2024​ to receive notification of eligibility by April 15, 2024.​

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Important Tasks You Can Accomplish Now

​​​​​Gather Necessary Documents.  Before diving into the FAFSA application, ensure you have all the required documents on hand. This may include both student and parent social security numbers, tax returns, records of child support received, and current balance of checking and savings accounts.  

Create Your FSA ID. If you haven't already done so, create your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This unique username and password serve as your electronic signature and grant you access to your FAF​SA.​

Create your MDCAPS Account. If you haven't already done so, create your Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) Account.  Be sure to use an email that is easy to remember when setting up this account for better ​communication. Maryland Higher Education Commission will communicate with you about State financial awards you are eligible for through the email you enter. You will also be notified on this email when you are AWARDED State financial aid.



1. Provide Consent or be Ineligible

  ​
  • ​Consent is required to retrieve and disclose federal tax information (FTI)
  • Student FAFSA will not be considered for federal aid without consent
  • Consent is still required​​ all contributors​

2. FAFSA reduced to 36 Questions from 108

 
  • ​Will be available on December 31, 2023​​

3. FSA ID is required

 
  • ​​Allow at least 3 days for the FSA ID process for Social Security Administration Verification
  • All Contributors (student, parent, student spouse (if married), and parent spouse (if married), including undocumented parents) must have FSA ID to complete FAFSA​
  • FSA ID will be used to match parent accounts to their student's FAFSA​​

4. Who is your parent?

 
  • No longer the custodial parent, but the parent with the greater income or assets​​
    • A legal parent includes a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or a person that the state has determined to be your parent (for example, when a state allows another person’s name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate).​
    • Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles aren’t considered parents unless they’ve legally adopted you.​

5. Who is a contributor?

 
  • ​Any individual required to provide signature and consent on the FAFSA form. Everyone who provides information on the FAFSA is a contributor
  • A student’s or Parent’s answers on the FAFSA form will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information
  • Everyone who provides information on the FAFSA is a contributor​
  • Students or parents invite contributors to complete their portion of the FAFSA form by entering the contributor’s name, date of birth, social security number, and email address
  • Contributors must provide personal and financial information in their won sections of the FAFSA form, but they are not financially responsible for the students’ education
  • Each contributor must create their own FSA ID
  • Can only see the information in their section
  • Student invites parent(s) to contribute​

6. Family size, not number in college

  ​
  • Family size is determined by deductions on the tax return, can be edited on the FAFSA
  • Number in college is no longer considered for financial aid
  • Net worth of family farms and small businesses will now be required as part of the application​

7. New FAFSA Terms (Need analysis and Pell Grant Eligibility)

 
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is now Student Aid Index (SAI)
  • Student Aid Report (SAR) becomes FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS)
  • Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) becomes Direct Data Exchange (DDE)​

8. Federal Work Study Income

 
  • Automatically reported on the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) Now reporting requirement in COD**​

9. Date to submit your FAFSA for State Financial Aid Priority Awarding

  ​
  • March 1,2024​​

10. Final date to submit your FAFSA for State financial aid

  ​
  • ​​​June 1, 2024
    ​ The final date extension is only for the 24-25 academic year.

11. Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) – What’s new for the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year?

 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must submit the FAFSA in order to be considered for federal and state (for certain programs) financial aid by going to https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. Students who submit a FAFSA are immediately​ reviewed to determine eligibility for the Guaranteed Access (GA), Educational Assistance (EA),and Maryland Community College Promise scholarship (i.e. student must list a Maryland community college on FAFSA to be considered for Promise).

The MHEC One-App REPLACES the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) by including a section for undocumented applicants and all other applicants ineligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for MHEC State aid programs.

Although students who are eligible to complete the FAFSA are not required to complete the MHEC One-App to be considered for the Guaranteed Access (GA), Educational Assistance (EA), and Maryland Community College Promise scholarship, applicants may complete the One-App to apply for any of the numerous other grants, scholarships, and loan assistance repayment programs offered through MHEC. For a list of all financial assistance programs offered through MHEC, click here!​

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