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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

FAFSA overhaul leads to delays for need-based financial aid

As the FAFSA application undergoes major changes, students can expect delays in offer letters along with possible changes to their federal aid.
On Oct. 5 Will McGinley, Baldwin Wallace director of financial aid, sent an email notifying students and families of the 2024-2025 FAFSA application delay. The new application is not expected to be released until mid-December but may not be released until Jan. 1.

On Oct. 5 the Financial Aid Office of Baldwin Wallace University sent an email which explained how the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is delayed until mid-December, or at the latest Jan. 1, leading to delays in offer letters for the next school year.   

In 2020, Congress passed The FAFSA Simplification Act leading to a complete overhaul of the application in 2023 for the 2024-2025 application including changes such as the reduction from 108 questions to 36.   

Will McGinley, director of financial aid, said the new application is meant to be simpler and shorter for families, but may include changes that could impact a student’s aid. Federal aid will now be calculated using the Student Aid Index instead of the Expected Family Contribution. 

One notable change, McGinley said, is the parent involved in the new calculations. Instead of using the parent that houses the child for most of the year, the new calculation will be based on the parent and their spouse that provides at least 50% of financial support. The SAI will also no longer take into account the number of children a family has in college.   

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“It used to be that you’d take income and assets divided by the number [of children] in college, and you’d get your EFC,” McGinley said. “Now, the SAI is going to be derived from income and assets and not divided by the number [of children] in college.”  

Additional changes found in the new application include demographic questions of race, sex and ethnicity, which will not be used in calculating financial eligibility and whether a student is expecting to live on campus.  

Many of BW’s aid is merit or endowment based and will not change based on the new index. However, students receiving the Federal Pell Grant, a state grant, Federal Work Study, subsidized loans or the BW Grant, may see changes depending on their SAI.   

Miles Heyse, third-year film studies and business administration student, said he used to qualify for work study when he originally came to BW, but no longer receives it due to financial changes in his family. Heyse also said that within the FAFSA “certain things were counted against me that felt unfair when our financials changed” during his freshman year and hopes those are resolved in the future.   

McGinley said that offer letters are usually released before the holiday break for admitted incoming students and late February to early March for returning students. This year, students can expect offer letters a couple months later than usual in the spring semester.   

Rusty Bechen, first-year studio art student, said that with the delay, he is “a little nervous” because he would like to know what expenses will look like for the next school year, regardless of whether it’s a positive or negative change.   

“That’s the tough thing about it being a federal organization, they can’t really cater to everybody individually, which would be amazing,” Bechen said. “But honestly, the change is going to be great for some people and it’s going to hurt others.”   

As families prepare for the release of the new FAFSA, McGinley said that everyone needs a Federal Student Aid username and password comprised of the student and the identified parent and their spouse providing the majority of financial support. Otherwise, the student risks being marked ineligible for federal aid.   

For additional information regarding federal student aid, visit or contact the BW One Stop by phone (440)826-2121 or email [email protected]  

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