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FAFSA Simplification FAQs

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020. This act broadens the pool of students eligible for federal aid and it also streamlines the application process for students and their families.

FAFSA is your application for financial aid and it determines your eligibility for need-based grants, loans, and work-study. It updates every year, but the 2024-2025 FAFSA holds the most significant changes in several years.

The benefits of FAFSA simplification include:

  • A more streamlined application process
  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
  • Reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g. homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds)
  • A better user experience for the FAFSA form

The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). There is a minimum SAI of -1500, and the new FAFSA process implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.

The revised FAFSA will have fewer questions, less requirements, and will be easier to complete.

The FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students by linking eligibility to family size and federal poverty levels. The new need analysis formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, but this should not impact most students, as the new calculation will consider the entire makeup of the family as part of the index.

Both students and parents/guardians who are required to file a US tax return must approve and consent for the IRS to provide tax information directly to the Department of Education through a direct data exchange with the online FAFSA application.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until December 2023. This change in the application’s opening will only be relevant for this year. The FAFSA start date will revert back to October 1st of 2024 for the 2025-2026 FAFSA.

We want you to know that financial aid offers will not include federal aid until after FAFSA has opened. Updated financial aid offers will be emailed to students after the completion of their FAFSA.

Please Note:

  • Both students AND parents have to have/create a FSA ID at before starting the FAFSA 
  • Users have to set up multi-factor authentication. Once this is created, the user will be presented with a backup code. This backup code will only be given once - it cannot be lost

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