Having an older sister is great for Chapman student Sophia Greenberg, especially when the government provides her with extra college funds for having one.
But what if that funding gets taken away?
For the sophomore business administration major, that funding is significant.
“That’s a life changing thing,” said Greenberg. “Having that extra money to pay for college is vital.”
Many Chapman students currently receive federal aid from FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid) for having family members in college at the same time as them. That stops, however, in October 2022.
University officials say they are aware of the problem and are working on solutions. But nothing is concrete yet.
For now, it’s up to students like Greenberg to find another avenue for funds before the start of her 2023 year.
The numbers affected are significant, but still unknown at Chapman, according to David Carnevale, Chapman’s director of Undergraduate Financial Aid.
In June, the federal government changed the system that determines how much aid college students receive. In doing so, it removed the consideration of family members in college at the same time from the calculation.
According to an educational data website, 42.6% of college students nationwide receive grant money from FAFSA. With 7,656 undergraduate students at Chapman, following that statistic, about 3,261 students would be receiving federal aid this year.
Numerous FAFSA changes include eliminating the federal aid currently available for families with multiple college students enrolled, starting in the 2023-24 academic year.
The change of this rule caused an uproar, with students and families both within and outside of Chapman attempting to stop the change through a national petition that has gained over 54,000 signatures so far. The petition was started by a concerned Ohio parent, Matthew Carpenter.
“The good news is that the solution is simple! We just need the Department of Education to keep the current rule for siblings in place, and not make this change,” said Carpenter.
While this is a stressor for many students at Chapman, the financial aid office has not updated its policies. So a lot of affected students may not be aware of it yet.
“Unfortunately, it’s a little too early for us to be publishing anything about the change and its impact on Chapman students,” said Carnevale.
Many students feel that Chapman should adjust those policies by providing the needed funds that the affected students would have received.
“It would be a great help if Chapman assisted in lowering costs for students affected, especially considering how expensive the university is to attend,” said Ryan King, a sophomore data analytics major who has an older sister also in college.
“I want Chapman to offer more financial support for students who need it,” Greenberg echoed.
According to Carnevale, Chapman’s financial aid office is actively reviewing its packaging policies in order to help students impacted by this change.
Still, some students are worried about how the change will affect their future.
“It worries me because I don’t want to go into the world with a lot of student debt,” said Greenberg.
King said, “Now my family is going to have to pay more for me to go to school and it will only make it more difficult for my family.”
Others are concerned, but not for themselves.
Sophomore software engineering major Santiago Crisantes is currently receiving this FAFSA aid from having his brother in college at the same time. But, he will not be affected because his sibling graduates before the rule adjusts.
The changes make Crisantes sad because like him, “many people should have the chance to go to university” and “having siblings who are in college at the same time as one another shouldn’t be something that holds them back.”
Crisantes specifically thinks Chapman should provide “a scholarship to help students get through the paywall university has.”
King is fighting back the only way he knows: he’s signing the national petition.
“I felt it was important to sign because as a student affected by this change, it’s important to me to stand up for what I need.”
Sydney Scott is a sophomore studying journalism and data analytics. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading various books, discovering hidden places, or riding her favorite attractions at Disneyland.