The FAFSA Simplification Act passed on December 27, 2020, represents a combination of major changes to the ways students and families file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the formulas used to determine Pell Grant eligibility, and how schools will determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid.
The changes to the FAFSA will go into effect for the 2024/2025 academic year. The new FAFSA - shortened from more than 100 questions to less than 50 questions - will be available in December 2023.
The changes to the formulas used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine Pell Grant eligibility include increased protection of family income information using a system that will pull information directly from FAFSA filers' income tax returns. When you file the FAFSA, you and/or your parent (or spouse, if you are married) will provide consent for that data transfer.
Each person contributing information to the FAFSA will be required to have an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid Identification) in order to consent and complete the FAFSA. The FSA ID is a username and password. It is important that each FSA ID is associated with the name, date of birth, social security number, and email address that is unique to the person.
Other FAFSA Changes:
- The term "EFC" (expected family contribution) is changed to "SAI" (Student Aid Index).
- A student's SAI can be as low as -1500.
- Parental information provided will be from the one who provided the most financial support, not whom you resided with more during the prior 12-month.
- Family farms that serve as a primary residence and small businesses will now have those assets considered in the calculations for federal student aid.
- Up to 20 schools can be listed to receive FAFSA results.
- Any person providing information on the FAFSA is known as a Contributor. A contributor is any individual required to provide a signature and consent on the FAFSA form, including the student, student's spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, and/or the parent's spouse (step-parent).
- Contributors will need to provide consent in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section that allows the IRS to share tax information.
- Each contributor must have an FSA ID that includes an email address that is unique and not shared with others.
- The Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) will be replaced by the Direct Data Exchange (DDX) for Federal Taxpayer Information (FTI) as the process for transferring federal tax information (FTI) from the IRS to the FAFSA. This should reduce the number of questions that most families are asked on the FAFSA.
Federal Student Aid Estimator
New and continuing students can use the before filling out the FAFSA form to understand how much federal student aid they may be eligible for. The tool estimates the Student Aid Index (SAI) for the 2024-25 award year.