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The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

Students Respond to New FAFSA

Financial+Aid+Specialist+Israel+Kinlow+assists+Alexander+Muniz+with+questions.
Photo by: Devin Taing
Financial Aid Specialist Israel Kinlow assists Alexander Muniz with questions.

The U.S. Department of Education released the 2024-2025 version of the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA). The shorter form of 36 questions was launched to a limited number of people on Dec. 30, 2023.

According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Education, this soft launch was a trial period to measure the website’s success and functionality.

Now that the form is widely available, Fresno City College students are being proactive about seeing if they can qualify for financial aid.

However, some are left with little options even with the FAFSA form being simplified.

Leslie, who asked to only be identified by her first name because of her family’s immigration status, is a student in the Dental Hygiene program. She was denied financial aid after filing for the 2024-2025 school year. Her parents are immigrants so they used the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a social security number.

“I guess people with immigrant parents are already having problems with FAFSA, it’s like this whole thing going on right now,” Leslie said.

Her parents were “told to wait” when they had questions about how to properly fill out the form without having a social security number.

Leslie thinks another factor in her getting declined aid was that her parents are separated but still file jointly for tax purposes. She was told that they were not able to do that in this new cycle.

She has tried to complete it since the new form was released in December.

Leslie said she and her family tried to “hold off” for as long as they could until their questions could be answered but she decided to just pay the costs to avoid further stress.

She is also one of the students impacted by the change in the new form, which does not consider siblings who are also in college, as a factor in calculating aid.

“It’s affecting me, my sister, and basically everyone else,” she said.

Leslie said she had accepted her circumstances but has six other siblings who will be attending college two of which have already been declined financial aid when they applied, recently.

“It’s just weird, I don’t know how people with immigrant families are supposed to do it, because it just comes down to the social security number,” Leslie said.

The dental hygiene student recognizes other FCC students who may be in similar situations. “They are not the only ones financially struggling,” she said. “It sucks right now.”

But many are praising the FAFSA Simplification Act because more low-income students will now be eligible for Pell Grants.

The U.S. Department of Education website predicts 1.5 million additional students will be eligible to receive the Pell Grants for the upcoming school year.

This will also include students who were or are currently incarcerated.

Another major change is how a student’s financial aid package is developed.

FAFSA will now be calculated with the Student Aid Index (SAI), and the information used can be found directly in tax documents through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Which can also be used, to determine Pell Grant eligibility if applicable.

Additionally, if a student is married, their spouse and their respective in law’s can also be considered financial contributors, now.

FCC’s financial aid office is located on the up- per floor of the Student Services building and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There are other faculties on campus who are also adapting to the new changes in FAFSA, to better support students such as the Dream Act Center. It has been communicated that their office will be having an informational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

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About the Contributors
Kaia James, Reporter
Kaia James, pronounced (Ki-yuh) is 22 years old and recently joined the Journalism program. She is a Fresno native, but attended CSU Channel Islands as a business major in 2021-2022 on a whim, as she does for most decisions. While studying in the small college town, gave her ample amount of life experience, Kaia looks forward to completing her ADT in Journalism in 2024 and transferring to Fresno State. Writing at the Rampage for the first time has been a departure from her past experience as editor and chief, at her high school as she says, she did not get to develop her own writing at that time. She has always had a passion for expressing herself through journaling, the exploration of being behind the camera, and just finding ways to be creative. In her free time, Kaia loves to cook new recipes, spend time with her 3 siblings, and play around with makeup. A fun fact about Kaia is that she was named after a Bob Marley song called "Kaya. Kaia looks forward to developing her writing as a reporter at the Rampage, and interviewing members of the amazing FCC community!
Devin Taing, Multimedia Editor
Devin Taing is the Multimedia Editor of the Rampage. He is 21-years-old and is majoring in mass communications journalism. He is born and raised in Fresno California his entire life and attended Sunnyside High. There he attended the "Video Production Academy" (VPA) program and took three years of video production. There he learned everything behind videography, editing, audio, and design. With this multimedia background, he was a perfect fit for the multimedia editor position in the Rampage. He has been a part of the Rampage for three semesters now and provided lots of help with the social media website as well as helping students with their cover photos. Other than being the multimedia editor, Devin loves to game on his downtime. He enjoys a variety of genres like combat, rhythm, strategies, and RPG. Some other interesting hobbies he enjoys is solving Rubik's cubes and photography. He started solving Rubik's cubes in middle school and ever since then he's been hooked. He can solve one in under a minute and enjoys other types of twisty puzzles as well. He didn't get into photography until he started college because he prioritized video as a profession instead. However, he feels like editing videos can take up to hours at a time and he eventually gets burnt out. Photography was a new and refreshing way for him to still apply his skills without spending hours on end in the editing process.

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