At FAS, we understand that change can be confusing and navigating through complex regulations can feel like a never-ending maze. That’s why we’re here to simplify things for you! Today, we want to shed some light on the FAFSA Simplification Act —a game-changer in the world of financial aid. We know firsthand how daunting new changes to the financial aid process can be, but fear not! Our expert team is well-versed in decoding the intricate details, and here to help!
What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a form students may complete to find out if they can qualify for federal loans or grants to pay for college. The FAFSA will determine eligibility for federal and state aid programs such as federal loans, federal work-study, and grants. The FAFSA collects information about income and assets to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount the family is expected to contribute toward education costs. It should be submitted as early as possible to maximize aid opportunities.
What is the FAFSA Simplification Act and its purpose?
The FAFSA Simplification Act marks a substantial revamp to the processes involved in granting federal student aid. Starting in the 2024-25 award year, this Act will encompass the FAFSA form, need analysis, and many of the policies and procedures applicable for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.
The FAFSA Simplification Act will begin expanding the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. The goal of FAFSA Simplification Act is to broaden accessibility to financial aid so that more students will have access to achieving their educational goals!
Key Changes Introduced by the FAFSA Simplification Act:
In the upcoming 2024-25 award year, there will be changes in how a student’s ability to pay for college is measured, and how aid is determined.
- Instead of using the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the FAFSA Simplification act will use a new measure called the Student Aid Index (SAI). This new formula will exclude the number of family members in college from the calculation, allow a minimum SAI of -1500, and establish separate criteria for determining eligibility for Federal Pell Grants. Read more about the differences between the EFC and SAI here!
- Adjustments to family ‘definitions’ in the FAFSA formula. You can anticipate changes with how a student’s family size is determined so that it aligns more accurately with the information reported on the student’s or parents’ tax returns.
- Expanding Access to Federal Pell Grants!
- The FAFSA Simplification Act will help more students become eligible for Federal Pell Grants by linking eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
- Restore the opportunity for incarcerated students in federal and state penal facilities to receive Federal Pell Grants.
- Reinstate Federal Pell Grant lifetime eligibility for students who were enrolled at a school that closed or if the school misled the student.
- Simplifying the FAFSA Form – The FAFSA Simplification Act will eliminate questions about Selective Service registration and drug convictions on the FAFSA, while introducing new questions about applicants’ sex, race, and ethnicity. It’s important to note that these additions regarding sex, race, and ethnicity will not impact federal student aid eligibility!
The FAFSA Simplification Act brings significant changes to the financial aid process, aiming to make it more accessible and streamlined for students. By expanding Federal Pell Grant eligibility, adjusting family definitions, simplifying the FAFSA form, and restoring certain grants, this Simplification Act seeks to support students in pursuing higher education opportunities! Read more about implementation changes from the Department of Education in their Gen-22-15.
How is FAS Preparing for the FAFSA Simplification Act?
Many of the upcoming changes will require significant updates to our systems and comprehensive training sessions. We have already started training our staff so that we can better answer any questions you bring us and efficiently address any questions or concerns you may have! Additionally, we will be organizing a series of informative webinars and sending out announcements on our social media to provide you with the latest news and developments.
Make sure to follow us on our social media channels below to stay connected and keep a close eye on our newest blogs!