College Board Forum 2022

Standing Room Only: Financial Aid at the Forefront

Standing room only.

Those words aren’t typically associated with technical financial aid discussions. But this year’s Forum session “Preparing for the Complexities of a Simpler FAFSA®” filled the house. From high school counselors to financial aid professionals to enrollment leaders, attendees packed the room, lining the walls and finding seats in the aisle, to hear updates regarding the changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Questions focused on the impact of the new Student Aid Index (SAI), formerly the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and on changes in the formula utilized by the FAFSA. Counselors focused in on assisting families through the new, mobile-friendly format. Higher ed professionals questioned changes, including the shift from number in college as a relevant data point to contribution calculations.

The session is indicative of an increased focus on financial aid and its position in addressing shifting perspectives on higher education. With Trends in Higher Education signaling a long-term slowdown in college enrollment, and higher ed offices still reeling from The Great Resignation, attendees across Forum sessions heard key updates to financial aid programs that assist institutions and students in navigating emerging higher education trends and federal changes.

Responsive to these needs, one important highlight from College Board included the outcomes from last year’s CSS Profile® fee waiver program expansion. U.S. families with Adjusted Gross Incomes of $100,000 or below now complete the application for free. More than 40% of all CSS Profile applicants and more than 80% of first-gen applicants have completed the application at no charge.

And a PowerFAIDS™ Cloud demonstration showcased the transformation coming for one of the leading financial aid management systems on the award-winning Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. This new iteration of PowerFAIDS will help strapped financial aid offices to better utilize limited staff time and create efficiencies that move students more quickly and accurately through processes.

College Board’s Financial Aid Products and Services team partners with hundreds of schools to provide financial aid services and enrollment solutions. To learn more about these services, contact our team at [email protected].