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Frequently Asked Questions About the FAFSA Changes

Updated May 21, 2024

You are now able to submit corrections to your FAFSA. Please continue to monitor your financial aid checklist and email should our office need any information from you during our review. 

Updated April 4, 2024

If a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form has been processed by the U.S. Department of Education, that status will be indicated on the student’s “MyFAFSA” page. If the student listed Swarthmore College in their list of schools to receive their FAFSA form, then they will see confirmation of their submission on their Swarthmore College (portal) financial aid checklist beginning today, April 4th, 2024. 

If a student's FAFSA form has been processed, but their Swarthmore College (portal) financial aid checklist does not confirm receipt of their FAFSA form, they should review their FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) to confirm that Swarthmore's School Code (003370) is listed on the FSS. If Swarthmore College’s School Code is not listed on the FSS, the student may correct their FAFSA form to add Swarthmore College's School Code to their FAFSA once that feature becomes available in the coming weeks. We will announce on this webpage when students are able to make corrections to their FAFSA.

Updated  January 30, 2024

Swarthmore College received its first batch of FAFSA data records on March 14, 2024.  The batch included very few student names and did not include most of the student records that we will eventually receive over the course of the next few to several weeks.  After the College has received most of the expected FAFSA data records, students will begin to see their Swarthmore financial aid checklists updated.  This means that most students will see that their FAFSA is not yet reflected as received by Swarthmore on their financial aid checklist.

If you have submitted every other item on your checklist (other than the FAFSA) and on time, you should receive a financial aid decision at the time of your admission notification.

If you have not yet submitted your FAFSA, you should do so immediately.  Please know that there are still some technical issues with the FAFSA.  Please be persistent and patient, and utilize the Help section of the FAFSA

Updated  January 30, 2024

Beginning with the 2024-2025 academic year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has undergone significant changes due to the FAFSA Simplification Act, marking the first major overhaul of the application in over 40 years. These changes aim to bring about a more streamlined process for students and parents and reduce barriers to accessing federal financial aid for their education.

There are some more notable changes to the FAFSA application and process that you may encounter:

1. Will the FAFSA be available when I apply for financial aid for fall early decision (deadline November 15)?
For students applying to Fall Early Decision,  the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until late December 2023. This means that students applying for Fall Early Decision will not be able to submit this piece of their financial aid application by the early decision deadline. This will not impact your ability or eligibility to apply for financial aid at Swarthmore College. Note: The FAFSA deadline has been moved back from January 4, 2024 to January 15, 2024.

Update:  The FAFSA became available to students on December 30, 2023.

2. How will I know if I qualify for federal financial aid? 
Financial Aid will provide you with an initial financial aid award upon completion and submission of all other application requirements. Domestic financial aid applicants will be required to submit the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available. Students will receive a final financial aid award in the spring that includes any federal aid eligibility. A student's total amount of financial aid will not decrease, and the amount that a family may owe will not increase, but the sources of aid may be adjusted to account for any federal financial aid funding a student is eligible to receive based on their FAFSA, as long as there is no conflicting information on the FAFSA.

3. What is different about completing the FAFSA in 2024-25?
The introduction of a new term: contributor. Contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide information as part of a student's FAFSA, such as a parent/stepparent or spouse. Previously, these contributors were referred to as Parent 1 and Parent 2. The way in which a student answers questions in the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be considered incomplete. If the student is required to included information from contributors in their FAFSA, and does not, the FAFSA will remain incomplete and a calculation for federal aid eligibility cannot occur.

4. What if I have siblings attending college at the same time as I am? I understand that the FAFSA no longer considers siblings in college.
The FAFSA will no longer take into consideration siblings attending other colleges or universities. This will only impact a student's eligibility for federal financial aid. Swarthmore will continue to include your siblings enrolled in other colleges/universities as part our calculation of your demonstrated need. We use the FAFSA to understand your eligibility for federal aid, but it will not impact our ability to meet 100% of your demonstrated need.

5. I completed my 2024-25 FAFSA when it became available in December.  Why don’t I see it noted as received on my Financial Aid checklist?  
The software update will arrive soon after the FAFSA changes. Until this occurs, we will not be able to receive or process FAFSA data or files. We are working with our software provider to be able to update your checklist as quickly as possible. Please be sure you have selected Swarthmore College to receive your FAFSA.  

6. Although I have tried, I am unable to successfully submit the FAFSA. What happens if I am unable to meet the January 15th deadline?
We are aware of the access issues you are experiencing. You should continue to attempt to meet the January 15th deadline. Due to the issues with accessing the FAFSA, please know that the January 15th deadline is now more of a priority deadline.  We will accept your FAFSA after January 15. However, the closer you are to meeting the January 15th deadline, the more likely it is that you will be among the first files we are able to process, when we are able to process them.

7. When will Swarthmore College receive my 2024-25 FAFSA submission?
On January 30, 2024, The U.S. Department of Education released a statement announcing that schools and state agencies will receive FAFSA submissions from applicants in "the first half of March." 

8. I submitted my 2024-25 FAFSA, but I need to correct information on my application. When will I be able to be able to make corrections to my FAFSA?
On January 30, 2024, The U.S. Department of Education released a statement announcing that students will be able to submit corrections to their 2024-25 FAFSA in "the first half of March."