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Changes In Financial Aid Process

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Most students at Point Park University like many colleges are dependent on financial aid to pay for their education.

"Ninety-nine percent of our freshmen receive some kind of financial aid," PPU financial aid director George Santucci told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.

To get that aid, parents must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- or FAFSA.

"It's a crucial point to receive any of our financial aid, especially the federal and state government in regards to the student loans, federal work study," said Santucci.

It's the only financial aid form Point Park uses.

As anyone who has done it can attest, filling out a FAFSA form is not an experience anyone wants to go through.

"Complicated, long, cumbersome, not enough time," recited Santucci, who has heard all the complaints.

So have students.

"It's really complicated and a very long process," said Alexis Sherman, a Point Park sophomore from Dormont.

But now the Obama administration has introduced key changes, starting with this year's high school juniors.

"It's going to be a lot easier for the families to complete the form," noted Santucci.

Beginning in October 2016, parents can fill out the FAFSA form early using their already completed tax return from the previous year instead of estimating income and expenses of the current year.

"Next year families will be able to fill out FAFSA even earlier," President Obama told high school students in Iowa on Monday, "starting on October 1st, right around the time that college applications ramp up."

"That means you won't have to wait for months for your W-2's to arrive before you get started, so you can get a jump on the college education process."

Parents save time because the information on your prior year's tax return will be automatically entered into the FAFSA form and, says Santucci, "Families will know about their financial aid a lot earlier."

That will help families prepare for the cost of college, noted Giovoni LeBron, a Point Park sophomore from Toronto.

"This gives people a lot of time to get their money and financial situation straight."

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