maroon wave

SU Preparing for FAFSA Changes

By SU Public Relations

SALISBURY, MD---With nearly half of all Salisbury University students receiving financial aid, changes announced for the 2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) could have a big impact on many current and future Sea Gulls.

With an eye toward ensuring the process is as seamless as possible, the SU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is working to prepare for what most are expecting to be transformative when it comes to ensuring more students are able to pay for college.

“This is the biggest change in FAFSA in over 40 years,” said Mason White, SU director of financial aid and scholarships. “It’s very fluid, and things are changing as we move through the process. Everyone is in this together.”

The new FAFSA, expected to be released by the end of December, will include less than half as many questions as in previous years (46, compared to 108) in a move to simplify the process for students and families. It also will change how data is entered, requiring students and parents to complete their sections fully before submitting.

White also noted that, because higher education institutions will not receive the FAFSA from the U.S. Department of Education until late January, a different timeline than in previous years, SU anticipates students may not hear about their financial aid eligibility until March.

“It’s important for students and families to know that, even though they’ve submitted it, there still may be a delay before they receive notification from schools,” he said. “They should not be worried if they don’t hear back right away.”

Legislation behind the new application seeks to broaden access to federal Pell Grants by replacing the expected family contribution — a major and sometimes confusing component of the previous FAFSA — with a new student aid index.

While this likely will be good news for many, a small percentage of students currently receiving Pell Grants — especially those with others from the same household attending college at the same time — may find themselves ineligible under the new application.

The SU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has pledged to help any current SU students who may find themselves in that position with exploring alternate avenues to ensure they are able to complete their degrees.

“It’s important that those students not get lost in what, ultimately, could be a very positive situation for others,” said White.

His office has been working to spread the news about the new FAFSA through platforms including social media, email, the SU Family Experience portal, and online portals dedicated to current and future students.

Future efforts will include information sessions for continuing and incoming students and their families, participation in FAFSA Night presentations at area high schools, and FAFSA workshops on campus.

“The rules of financial aid are being rewritten to make the process more user-friendly and efficient,” said White. “We’re in this right along with students and families, navigating new waters to ensure everyone is as prepared as possible.”

For more information about the new FAFSA, visit the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid webpage at

Learn more about opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.