Changes coming to FAFSA will impact North Dakota college students in 2024/2025 school year

Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 8:59 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The fall semester is back in session for college students, but it’s not too early to start thinking about how you’re going to finance next year’s tuition.

That’s especially true because the Department of Education has announced changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid under the FAFSA Simplification Act passed in 2020.

The last of the changes are rolling out for the 2024/2025 school year and will impact all North Dakota students and families looking to apply.

Bank of North Dakota Chief Business Development Officer Kelvin Hullet says the FAFSA for 2024 won’t be open until December at the earliest, which gives students a shorter window to apply for aid.

He says the questionnaire will be reduced from 108 questions to 36. He says the new form will prioritize wealth over cash flow, which he says will have the biggest impact on small businesses and farm owners.

Another change is coming, he says, is the elimination of discounts for families with multiple children in college at the same time.

Plus, he says students and parents will need to apply for an I.D. prior to filling out the form.

“People sometimes don’t plan for how they’re going to pay for their entire four-year college career if they’re going to go to a university. And so, what we really encourage people to do is look at the career that they’re going to go into. And then from there, really make some decisions about what is the appropriate amount of student loan that I can take out, and then when I get out of college be able to pay back that student loan,” said Hullet.

Hullet says there are many scholarship options available in North Dakota, from “Dollars for Scholars” provided through the Bank of North Dakota to “ND Career Builders,” which is a state-run program offering students incentives when they plan to stay and work in the state.

He says you can also speak with the financial aid office of your desired school about even more merit-based scholarship options. For parents of young children looking to start saving now, Hullet says the state’s 529 plan through BND is a great, tax-free option to save money away for when your kid becomes a college student.

For further help with loans and scholarships, click here.