2024 Policy Shifts: Essential Updates Every College Should Know

During the most recent Council of Independent Colleges annual Presidents Institute meeting new policies were discussed and highlighted, including overtime exemption rules and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.

The FAFSA overhaul aims to streamline the application process by reducing the number of questions, making it more accessible to students. However, initial rollout faced some technical glitches, leading to efforts by the Education Department to ensure round-the-clock availability of the form.

This revamp is expected to extend Pell Grant access to an additional 1.5 million students, with improved data retrieval options from the IRS for quicker eligibility assessment.

Beyond simplifying the form, the updated FAFSA considers changes in student aid calculations, basing Pell Grant eligibility on household size and federal poverty line criteria. Applicants will now receive prompt confirmation of their Student Aid Index and Pell Grant eligibility upon form completion.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed increasing the overtime eligibility threshold from approximately $35,000 to around $50,000, with a final ruling expected in April. Notably, exemptions remain for certain employees, including college professors and specific sports coaches.

“This is going to be really impactful on budgets and on the way, you staff complex weekend events in particular,” said Council of Independent Colleges President Marjorie Hass. “You may have to keep certain staff off campus during these really important events, which is tragic.

Through the continued improvements in the FAFSA process and ongoing efforts by the U.S. Department of Education are crucial to providing equal opportunities for all students seeking an opportunity to attend higher education institutions.

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