Fall 2023 Newsletter
Many thanks to College Possible for hosting MACAC's Fall Board Meeting at their St. Paul headquarters! We enjoyed meeting coaches and staff as well as learning about the ways the organization is disrupting barriers and increasing post-secondary access for Minnesota high school students.
Table of Contents
By now, most of us know that there are changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In an effort to help you feel more prepared for the questions you’ll be receiving, we’ve prepared some quick information to help guide families through the changes they’ll experience. The 2024-2025 Form is scheduled to become available by the end of December, and while this article isn’t an exhaustive list of every change to expect, it does cover most of the more significant changes to expect.
What is NOT Changing?
Changes to Expect
One of the many benefits to the changes coming to the FAFSA is its simplification; instead of 100+ questions, the whole application will be reduced to no more than 36 questions. The questions are also subject to change, to be more thorough in some instances, or to even change terminology. For instance, instead of “Room and Board,” colleges are instructed to use “Housing and Food,” respectively. The college search is already filled with acronyms and its own in-speak, so removing terminology barriers may seem small but is a big win for families.
Another way the process has been streamlined is the ability to have tax information integrated into the FAFSA forms. Instead of being redirected to IRS sites to have data retrieved from filed taxes, those processes will be included in the FAFSA itself, helping to increase the completion rate.
EFC is out,
SAI is in
SAI is in
Perhaps the most significant change is the switch from an “Expected Family Contribution” to the new “Student Aid Index.” While the concept is similar, in that both the EFC and SAI are not necessarily dollar amounts but more of index measures, how these numbers are calculated and their impact in a student’s aid offer is changing.
Some notable changes include:
Number of students in college is no longer taken into account
Household size is no longer self-reported, and will instead come from tax form data
Contributions to college made by others is no longer calculated
Increased Pell Grant Eligibility
Finally, something that has the most potential to help families is that Pell Grant eligibility is scheduled to increase. This will allow for more federal grant dollars to go to more students. While some may argue that specific changes in how the SAI is calculated may reduce access to aid, there seems to be a balance in how other aspects will improve and continue to help provide financial access to colleges. Nationally, colleges are also required to provide an appeal process, where families may be able to provide more context behind their income information (though each college will have its own process and criteria for an appeal).
Minnesota is in a prime spot to help make college affordable for as many families as possible. The FAFSA will be required for families who may benefit from the North Star Promise, as that will be the primary source to verify income information to confirm if a student is eligible.* It’ll be important to encourage families to file a FAFSA if they intend to access state or federal aid dollars, and hoping that these changes will make that process easier.
*The Minnesota Dream Act application is also available for applicable students, which does not necessarily have the same changes seen in the FAFSA
Hello! My name is Collin Bueltel, and I work at Minnesota State University Moorhead as a Transfer Admissions Representative! I have been in my position and working in higher education for just over a year now. I graduated from MSU Moorhead and becoming a tour guide and their undergrad assistant sparked my passion for higher education and knew it was where I wanted to pursue my career. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, spending time outdoors, thrifting, drinking coffee, and being with friends and family.
This fall, I had the opportunity to support our First-Year team by going to the MEF college fairs, as well as Wisconsin and South Dakota college fairs. I have loved the energy of high school students when it comes to them exploring colleges! I want to give a shoutout to all reps who have done countless miles on the road this season because we are all making an impact on each student that stops by your table and wants to know more about your institution!
Committee Spotlight: Member Relations Committee
The Member Relations Committee has been hard at work creating, revising, planning, and executing new ways for members to connect with their colleagues at other institutions. See below to learn more about the ways you can engage with MACAC. From social fun to learning opportunities to professional development — there is something for everyone!
MACAC Mentorship Program Revamp
The newly revamped MACAC Mentorship Program has officially launched. Over 20 mentors/mentees attended the October 4 kickoff meeting, and there are over 30 program participants. One of the features of this new program is the use of an AI-powered online platform to strategically pair mentors/mentees. The platform provides each participant with resources to enhance their professional development relationship.
The MACAC Membership Program has also partnered with a consulting group called A Deeper Way who will provide psychology-based training and content throughout the academic year to fuel personal and professional development. They are looking forward to a year full of very positive growth.
Questions about the MACAC Mentorship Program? Email Amanda Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The MACAC Mentorship Program recently hosted their second MACAC Chats of the year on November 2. Additional dates for the chats include January 11 and March 23. Feel free to join via Zoom from 12pm-1pm, and keep an eye on your email for updates.
Not on the list? Email email@example.com to stay updated about future MACAC Chats.
Click the image below to view the first MACAC chat of the year.
MACAC Fall Social
MACAC Fall Social
On October 3, the night before the National College Fair in Minneapolis, over 60 admissions and school counselors joined in for an evening of fun at Surly Brewing. The MACAC Fall Social was a time to connect, network, and catch up with friends and colleagues.
Thank you to those who attended. We hope to see you again and new guests at the next social event!