Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Spreading the word on new FAFSA coming for the fall 2024 semester

Star Pleasant is about to begin her final semester in the esthetician program at San Diego City College. Her journey’s been delayed a little, because life happened.

“The past term I had a newborn, and he came quite a bit early. So, unfortunately, I had to step away from classes," Pleasant said.

She also lost her financial aid. On Thursday, she was in the school’s financial aid office, working on her appeal.


That office is where the semester often starts for students trying to maneuver financial aid challenges — and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, is the key. But a major change is coming to the FAFSA. For the first time in almost 40 years, it is downsizing.

The financial aid form will go from 100 questions to just 30 or 40. There will be more opportunities to qualify, and financial data will be shared directly from the IRS.

The new FAFSA will be available in December for the fall 2024 semester.

"Usually, the FAFSA is open in October. Now it’s going to be open sometime in December. So that’s three months we’re cutting away from families and students," said Komal Singh with the California Student Opportunity and Access Program.

Financial aid professionals<br/>
M.G. Perez
Financial aid professionals meet at San Diego City College, Friday, to discuss major changes in the traditional FAFSA coming later this year, San Diego, Calif., August 11, 2023.

Singh was one of the more than 100 financial aid professionals attending a regional meeting Friday on the campus of San Diego City College.


The group came together to share details of the upcoming financial aid changes. They also collaborated on ways to communicate those changes to teachers, students, families, and community organizations who support them.

“With all the changes, which are really big deal things, we want to make sure we communicate that. California is large. The challenge for us is to make sure we’re reaching all these different populations," said Michael Lemus with the California Student Aid Commission.

And there are many students to reach. In the San Diego Community College District alone, enrollment is already up 12% over previous COVID-19 years. The district is prepared to welcome more than 50,000 students across its City, Mesa, Miramar, and Continuing Education campuses. 

Most of them require some financial aid, and the expertise of professionals who can help them apply for it.

Classes for the fall semester will begin in the district and on several other college campuses across the county on Aug. 21.