The FAFSA Simplification Act has recently been passed by Congress to streamline the financial aid process for students and families. Among other key changes this legislation will reduce the total number of questions students see when filing the FAFSA, attempts to clarify the questions that will be asked, and will aim to increase Federal Pell Grant eligibility. While in some cases the FAFSA simplification could increase some students’ financial aid eligibility, others may see a decrease in aid. Key changes that can impact the application process and resulting financial aid offers for students are outlined below.
Key changes include, but are not limited to:
Most of the changes related to FAFSA simplification will begin with the 2024-2025 application. Due to the changes, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available as of the traditional October 1 date. The anticipated launch date of the 2024-25 FAFSA will be in December 2023.
The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a different way to determine aid eligibility.
The FAFSA Simplification Act expands the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
Schools will use the SAI to determine eligibility for federal financial aid programs.
SAI will no longer take the number of students in college into consideration. This may reduce need-based aid eligibility for current students with siblings in college.
For students whose parents are separated or divorced, the guidance on which parent income to report has changed to the parent who provides the most financial support to the student, rather than the parent who lives at the student’s primary residence.
Parents without a Social Security Number will be able to apply for an FSA ID. This will speed up FAFSA processing time as they’ll be able to submit the form online, rather than having to print, sign and mail their application.
Students who qualify for a dependency override due to homelessness or not being able to access their parents’ financials, no longer need to recertify their dependency status each year, unless their situation changes.
Male students under the age of 26 are no longer required to register with the Selective Service System to receive federal financial aid. However, Selective Service registration is still required for HOPE programs.