By Sharon Hassan, FAS Senior Consultant
Upcoming changes represent a significant shift in financial aid, with the good-intentioned hope of streamlining the application process and making aid more accessible to students. The modifications are poised to reshape students’ eligibility for financial aid and the extent of these changes will depend on varying factors, including the student’s family financial situation, choice of institution, and the number of students concurrently enrolled in college. Let’s break down the key changes you need to know and care about as colleges and university administrators anticipate the rollout.
- Forget everything you thought you knew about the FAFSA process. New FAFSA. New Calculation. New Opportunities.
- 2024-2025 FAFSA is delayed until December 2023. Communications to incoming and returning students should emphasize the importance of completing their FAFSA by October 1st.
- Automatic Zero EFC for Some Families: Students from families with an adjusted gross income (AGI) at or below a certain threshold automatically receive an EFC of zero, making them eligible for maximum federal aid.
- Elimination of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The FAFSA Simplification Act replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid programs.
- Elimination of Verification for Some Applicants: The act reduces the number of students selected for the verification process, which requires them to provide additional documentation to verify their FAFSA information.
- Simplified FAFSA Form: The FAFSA form has been simplified, making it shorter and more user-friendly. It reduces the number of questions and eliminates some redundant or complex inquiries.
- Simplified Income and Asset Reporting: There are fewer questions about assets and untaxed income on the FAFSA form, making it easier for students and parents to complete.
- Increased Pell Grant Eligibility: The FAFSA Simplification Act increases the maximum Pell Grant award and expands eligibility to more students, including those with incarcerated parents, and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
- Revised Dependency Overrides: The FAFSA Simplification Act provides more flexibility for financial aid administrators to grant dependency overrides for students with extenuating circumstances, such as abandonment by parents or abusive family situations.
As we prepare for the FAFSA changes, administrators must stay informed and adapt to the new rules. By understanding these key changes and utilizing available resources, you can effectively assist students in navigating the FAFSA process and accessing the financial aid they need for their education.
Are you fully staffed for the federal challenges coming to your institution? Prepare for the upcoming FAFSA changes with FAS. Contact us today!