Assumption Launches Alternative to FAFSA for Academic Year 2024-2025
This fall, Assumption University debuted an innovative alternative to the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) in a move designed to help students and families applying to Assumption receive expedited financial aid information. Due to the passage of the FAFSA Simplification Act by Congress in 2022, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not open until December 2023, two months later than the normal October 1st opening, causing stress for students and families applying for the class of 2028.
To help alleviate some of the burden this may place on incoming students and families, Assumption’s alternative form, called the Fast Track Early Aid Offer, allows the Office of Financial Aid to make offers of aid earlier than waiting for the FAFSA. The form will provide students with offers of Assumption scholarship and grant funding based on both need and merit.
“We saw this as an opportunity to lead on this issue,” said William Boffi, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “Families need as much information as they can get as early as they can get it.”
In the spring of 2023, Assistant Dean of Enrollment for Financial Aid Monica Blondin learned of the changes that were being made to the FAFSA for the 2024-2025 academic year. Shortly after, the financial aid team, along with Boffi, University President Greg Weiner, and Vice President for Strategy Christina Graziano, began looking at alternatives to the form.
“We realized that this was going to affect our timeline of awarding financial aid, which is a significant part of enrolling students,” Boffi said. “We were very concerned with how it was going to affect families that rely on the FAFSA to do financial aid analysis.”
Boffi says that the school had considered options such as the CSS Profile, offered by the College Board, to award aid to students, but decided that they would rather have their own form that had no cost to families.
“Our focus is simplicity, clarity, and eliminating barriers,” Boffi said. “And I think that’s what our form does.”
Logistics for building the new form was a massive team effort in which Boffi recruited the help of Blondin, Weiner, and Graziano, along with Dean of Enrollment Katie Moulton, Director of Enrollment Operations Eric Vettese, Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid Robin Montalvo, Associate Director of Financial Aid and Enrollment Sarah Bergeron.
“It was a months-long process of trying to figure out what our response to this would be,” Boffi said. “But it really has been a full team effort, from Greg [Weiner] to the financial aid pros who figured out a solution.”
The official FAFSA will help to confirm offers of aid made to accepted students who have filled out Assumption’s financial aid form, so students will still be required to fill it out. However, the Fast Track Early Aid Offer will allow information to be distributed to families sooner than the FAFSA and may also help with the official FAFSA process.
Students can fill out the form as soon as they receive their offer of acceptance. The financial aid office will then provide them with their aid offer within two weeks.
Boffi emphasized that creating this alternative to the FAFSA will work to assist students in their college searches as it will help them narrow down their lists sooner. He also hopes that offering aid early will put Assumption on many students’ potential shortlists.
“Students go into senior year with a big list, and they’re going to narrow it,” Boffi said. “It’s really hard to narrow down without knowing what you’re going to pay. Price is a big factor; it’s not the only factor, but it’s a big factor. But if you get some sense of what a school is going to offer, that’s a big advantage.”
In the end, the goal of the form is to make what is a complicated and confusing process for students and families, easy and accessible.
“We’re always trying to figure out ways to serve students and families better,” Boffi said.
Students must still file the 2024-2025 FAFSA once it becomes available in December 2023 in order to confirm their financial aid offers. After December 15, 2023, all students must fill out the official FAFSA in order to receive any financial aid information.
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