NewsLocal News


MOCAN offers free help to parents, students filling out FAFSA form

FAFSA delays cause stress for students and schools
Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-13 07:20:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Springtime means financial aid time for many college students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is open and ready to be filled out by incoming and current college students seeking help to pay for college.

However, the Missouri College and Career Attainment Network said FAFSA applications are down 45.4% compared to last year. MOCAN wants to help change that by offering free virtual help sessions to parents and students every Wednesday this month.

The Zoom sessions are Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-noon and 5-7 p.m. You can get one-on-one assistance by signing up at

MOCAN’s Director of Affordability, Kaitlyn Venta, said there are changes to the FAFSA application this year that applicants need to be aware of.

"The FAFSA underwent a lot of changes this year, including formula and eligibility changes, so there may be more families who are eligible for financial aid than there were in the past, and so if you weren't sure if you're eligible, fill it out. You never know you could get some funding for college,” Venta said.

Along with that, the window to fill out the FAFSA is shorter this year due to the changes and updates.

“We're working on a condensed timeline this year. Usually, the FAFSA opens in October, but it didn't open until early January this year, so families have had less time to complete it. There've also just been some challenges of getting ids set up and then navigating the form. Federal student aid is working on all of those challenges,” Venta said.

Venta said those challenges are a great reason to utilize MOCAN’s free help. People planning on attending a Zoom session should have their FSA ID created and handy, along with social security numbers, asset information and current financial situation. Venta recommends having tax documents handy, as well, in case there is an error in the system.

Venta said the FAFSA is for anyone seeking aid to attend a college, university or trade school, along with grants and scholarships. The Access Missouri Grant gives a few thousand dollars to students planning on attending a Missouri school and that deadline is April 1.