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Kaskaskia College helping students navigate major FAFSA application changes

If you’ve tried filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form anytime over the last few months, you may have noticed some significant differences. While the new form is less time-consuming with only 36 questions, rather than the lengthy 108 questions of the past, it can still be unnerving to fill out.

Sarah Ratermann, director of Financial Aid, Kaskaskia College

Kaskaskia College Director of Financial Aid Sarah Ratermann said it’s understandable if the new form is creating some anxiety and confusion for parents, but resources are available.

“We are hosting FAFSA completion workshops this month at in-district high schools or students can also stop by our financial aid office for help completing their FAFSA,” said Ratermann. “But it’s also important for parents and students to know that the Department of Education’s delays in processing and releasing FAFSA information will not negatively impact Kaskaskia College students’ eligibility and students will still receive all eligible funds.”

There are several other key changes that staff at Kaskaskia College can help students to navigate.

This year any person required to provide their signature, consent, and approval to have their federal tax information directly transferred into the FAFSA form from the IRS, is known as a contributor. “Contributors need to create their Federal Student Aid IDs at least three days prior to completing the FAFSA so the information can be processed,” advised Ratermann.

Eligibility formulas for federal student aid and Pell Grants have changed as well. Kaskaskia College students may also apply for Illinois’ Monetary Award Program Grant (MAP). “Eligibility for the MAP Grant is based on financial need and is first come-first serve, so the sooner the FAFSA is completed, the better chance a student has of receiving MAP,” said Ratermann.

She also added that the priority FAFSA completion date for 2024-25 MAP eligibility is April 1, 2024.

“The most important advice I’d like to give parents right now is to be patient and reach out to us if you have questions on how to complete the form,” Ratermann said.


About Kaskaskia College

Kaskaskia College is a public community college in Centralia, Ill., within South Central Illinois District 501 serving all or part of nine counties including Bond, Clinton, Fayette, Marion, Washington, Jefferson, St. Clair, Madison and Montgomery. Committed to making education accessible, they host the Crisp Technology Center in Centralia, and also have education centers in Greenville, Nashville, Salem, Trenton and Vandalia, Ill. The school, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers a broad spectrum of degrees, programs and certification options, specializing in two-year associate degrees and trade school programs. Founded in 1940, Kaskaskia College was the first Class I Community College established in the State of Illinois.

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