UNLV rolls out institutional aid application to help students waiting on FAFSA

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It has been a struggle for many students to understand FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

To help students navigate financial aid challenges, UNLV is doing what it can to help.

Oscar Casillas is a freshman at UNLV. He is working his way to pay for school.

“I have to put aside most of it for tuition to be able to cover my part, it’s really helpful that my parents help me out a lot,” Casillas explained.

Affording college has brought anxiety for incoming students, Casillias said his friends are looking at other ways to pay for school.

“I know some of them have to take out loans,” Casillas added. “I’m lucky enough that I haven’t gotten to that point to take out a loan to pay for it.”

Those are concerns that Zachary Goodwin knows all too well. He is the executive director of UNLV’s Financial Aid and Scholarships office.

Rollouts with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid left many families frustrated with delays. Goodwin said some FAFSA information has yet to reflect new information and updates are still needed, leaving much uncertainty for students.

“We hear reports out in the field of students saying maybe I’ll wait a year and try again for Fall 2025, and I hope that’s not how students are feeling,” Goodwin said. “FAFSA completion rates in general are down 30 percent from this point in the cycle from where we were last year and that’s really dramatic.”

To help incoming students with their financial aid, UNLV has rolled out the UNLV Institutional Aid Application. By filling out the UNLV form, students didn’t have to wait for FAFSA access in order to submit their information to UNLV for aid consideration. The university is using similiar FAFSA information to award institutional scholarships and need-based grants for students.

“We began getting that out a few weeks ago and have information almost out to all of our incoming prospective first-year students so far,” Goodwin remarked. “That’s really all it was, we wanted to make sure we had a backup plan.”

Right now about 3,000 students are approved for UNLV’s Institutional Aid, which takes away their worries when it comes to paying for school.

Casillas said he is thankful for the help he gets to pay for school and the scholarships he received, as he knows it’s not the same for everyone else.

“For next semester starting in August, if I don’t get my financial aid, am I not going to be here? Am I not going to be able to pay it off? So you do worry about it sometimes,” Casillas said.

As part of UNLV’s commitment to affordable education, the Rebel Edge program also awards qualifying in-state students free tuition and fees, along with a $1,000 annual book stipend.

For more information on Rebel Edge, click here.

New first-year undergraduate students applying for admission for fall 2024 should complete the UNLV Institutional Aid Application through the Rebel Success Hub now.

For more information on FAFSA changes at UNLV, click here.

Original News Source Link – KLAS

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