FAFSA Simplification Act
Aiming to streamline the financial aid process for students and their families.
Congress recently passed the FAFSA Simplification Act, aimed at streamlining the financial aid process for students and their families. This legislation introduces several significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process. These changes include a reduction in the number of questions on the FAFSA, clearer wording of the questions and an effort to expand eligibility for Federal Pell Grants. It's important to note that while some students may find their financial aid eligibility increased as a result of these simplifications, others might experience a decrease in aid. Below, we outline key changes that will affect the application process and the resulting financial aid offers.
Important changes to be aware of include, but are not limited to:
- Timing of FAFSA Availability: Most of the FAFSA simplification changes will be implemented starting with the 2024-2025 application cycle. Consequently, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be accessible on the usual October 1 date. The anticipated launch date for the 2024-25 FAFSA is December 2023.
- Student Aid Index (SAI): The FAFSA Simplification Act replaces the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a different method for determining eligibility for financial aid.
- Expanding Federal Pell Grants: This legislation broadens the reach of Federal Pell Grants, linking eligibility to both family size and the federal poverty level.
- SAI for Aid Eligibility: Institutions will now use the SAI to assess eligibility for federal financial aid programs.
- Impact on Sibling Enrollment: The SAI will no longer consider the number of siblings attending college, potentially reducing the need-based aid eligibility of current students with siblings in college.
- Reporting Parental Income: In cases of parental separation or divorce, the guidance on which parent's income to report has changed. It now focuses on the parent who provides the most financial support to the student, rather than the parent at the student's primary residence.
- FSA ID for Parents without SSNs: Parents who lack a Social Security Number (SSN) will now have the option to apply for an FSA ID. This change aims to expedite FAFSA processing, as these parents can submit the form online, eliminating the need to print, sign and mail their application.
These changes are designed to simplify the FAFSA process, expand access to financial aid and make it more equitable for all students and families. It's important for students and their families to stay informed about these adjustments and their potential impact on their financial aid eligibility and application timelines.
Have questions? Please contact us or request an appointment with our office to speak directly with a financial aid representative.