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FAFSA applications are open, but with some big changes

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Posted at 5:41 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 21:07:53-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened Friday, but there are some recent changes to the form.

Students who had a prior drug conviction or male students who failed to register for selective service will no longer be disqualified from federal student aid, but they'll still need to answer the questions on the form. The state has also re-designed the FAFSA website to make it more user-friendly.

"If a parent logs in as a parent and completes the application for one child, when the parent gets to the confirmation page, they now have a button to transfer that information to another child," said Kristina Moss, Pikes Peak Community College.

The community college has big plans to ensure more students fill out the application.

"Starting October 6th through November 24th, we're going to be hosting Fear No FASFA Wednesdays where we help incoming or people who need help with the FAFSA application," said Moss.

Moss says they are also teaming up with the local high schools for events aimed at helping students fill out the application.

"If the local high schools can increase the number of students filling out the application, they are eligible for grant money," said Moss.

The Department of Higher Education says the state has always had a low FAFSA completion rate. It dropped 5.6 percent this school year.

"College enrollment declined, some schools double digits, but overall it was decline. So because of that decline, it parallels the decline in the FASFA completion," said Dr. Angie Paccione, Executive Director, Department of Higher Education.

She says the state is offering universities incentives to get those students back, and it's not the only thing they are doing.

"Students who started at a four-year institution but stopped for a year or more, and have earned an associate's degree will actually be awarded an associate's degree from the four-year institution," said Paccione.

For parents or students interested in learning more about the FAFSA, click here.