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  • Jenna Qaddoumi

Investing in Our Future: PVS Hosts FAFSA Workshop

On November 28, 2023 a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshop was held at PVS, facilitated by College Counselor Mrs. Jennifer Cartwright-Alejo with guest speaker Felicia Orr, who is the Director of College Access at the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC). FAFSA is the official form used by students and their families to apply for federal financial aid for college. Orr walked through FAFSA, both an introduction to people who’ve never used it and an overview of changes made to the system. 

The Department of Education chose to change FAFSA for the 2024 to 2025 calendar school year. With these changes came a lot of uncertainty, especially with the vague updates released by the Department of Education. One of the most notable changes is the decision to exclude the amount of older siblings in college. Closely related to that is the change from the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) to the newly termed SAI (Student Aid Index), a calculation of how much the student will be able to put forth towards paying for their education.

Considering the ambiguity around FAFSA changes and announcements, so close to its release, a workshop was planned to guide students through the process. Orr began the presentation by defining what FAFSA is and the different types of financial aid, such as grants, scholarships and loans. 

Grants are governmentally offered aid without the need to pay them back. Scholarships are also not meant to be paid back; they are usually offered by institutions and the schools you are applying to. Loans can be offered by the government or schools and must be paid back, however, during the term of your education the loan is usually interest-free. 

Orr also went through the different required documents and information needed for FAFSA like the students social security, the FSA ID, and your parents’ social security numbers. One of the most important things Orr emphasized was the necessity of linking the parents accounts to the student account. FAFSA has a parent section for students applying to college who are still fiscally dependent on their parents. 

Many changes were made to FAFSA and Felicia Orr’s presentation gave insight to these changes and expectations for steps moving forward.


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