On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions regarding the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA® ) form as well as expands access to federal student aid. Due to the significant changes, the FAFSA opening date for the 2024-2025 award year will be delayed.
As we embark on the journey toward higher education, we want to ensure that you have the tools and resources needed to make the process as smooth as possible. One crucial step in this journey is creating your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. Your FSA ID is the key to accessing and managing your federal student aid information securely. It serves as your electronic signature for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and allows you to:
Creating your FSA ID is a quick and straightforward process, click here for instructions on how to create an FSA ID.
NOTE: 2024-25 FAFSA CHANGES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. INFORMATION ON THIS WEBPAGE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS NEW INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.
The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be pushed back from October 1, 2023, to sometime in December 2023.
The questions that have been removed from the FAFSA effective the 2024-25 award year include, but are not limited to the following:
The FAFSA Simplification Act specifies which questions can be asked on the FAFSA and prohibits the U.S. Department of Education (ED) from asking FAFSA questions that are unnecessary for Title IV federal student aid.
A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA including:
The new FAFSA is student-driven, so that means the student’s answers in their section will determine who will be a contributor (in addition to the student). Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA. Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.
All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred from the IRS, have their tax data used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal student aid, and allow the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to share their tax information with institutions and state higher education agencies for the administration of Title IV aid. Consent is provided once for the award year and cannot be revoked in that award year. This consent is necessary even if the contributor does not have an SSN, did not file taxes, or filed taxes in another country.
If a dependent student’s parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will be contributors, will need to have separate FSA IDs, and need to provide consent. Dependent students whose parents filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly only require one parent contributor to complete the FAFSA. If the student’s parents filed separately, both parents will be considered contributors and therefore need separate FSA IDs, and both must provide consent.
If an independent student is married and filed separately, both individuals are contributors, must have FSA IDs, and must provide consent for the student to be eligible for Title IV aid.
Effective the 2024-25 award year, the parent of record on the FAFSA is noted below. You will notice that the parent with whom the student lived the most in the past 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA, is no longer a criterion in cases of divorced or separated parents. For divorced or separated parents, income and assets are reported on the parent who provides the most financial support even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with the other parent.
The IRS DRT will be replaced with the Direct Data Exchange (DDX).
The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA form. Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid.
In addition to the SAI, the FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. New eligibility formulas and funding are estimated to increase Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%. Incarcerated students will regain the ability to receive a Pell Grant, and Pell Grant lifetime eligibility will be restored to students whose school closed while they were enrolled, or were subject to a false certification, identity theft, or a borrower defense loan discharge.
Accessibility to the FAFSA has been expanded to the top 11 languages spoken by English learners in the U.S.- Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Arabic, Korean, Russian, German, Haitian, and Hindi.
No benefit for having siblings in college: Previously, the FAFSA divided the EFC proportionally based on the number of household members in college. The elimination of this “sibling discount” will be the biggest change in aid eligibility for some students. The SAI will not use the number in college as a factor in the calculation of eligibility. As such, Georgia Southern University students with siblings in college may see a change in their aid eligibility at Georgia Southern University as well as with the aid received by their sibling(s) at Georgia Southern University or elsewhere. The determination to no longer consider the number in college was made by Congress and can only be changed by Congress.
Pell Grant eligibility will be determined in three steps:
1. Maximum Pell Grant – Applicants may qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), and poverty guidelines. Students qualifying for a Maximum Pell Grant will have an SAI between negative $1,500 (-$,1500) and $0.
2. Student Aid Index (SAI) – Applicants who do not qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant may still qualify if their calculated SAI is less than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year. The applicant’s Pell Grant award for full-time enrollment will be equal to the maximum Pell Grant for the award year minus SAI. The Pell Grant will be adjusted (prorated) if an applicant enrolls in less than full time, or if the applicant’s Cost of Attendance (COA) is less than the calculated Pell Grant award.
3. Minimum Pell Grant – Applicants whose SAI is greater than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year may still qualify for a Pell Grant, based on family size, AGI, and poverty guidelines.
Automatic Pell Grants based on income household and size: Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the federal poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.
Once the annual Federal Pell Grant is determined, half of the award will be offered in each semester of the award year and will be prorated by Enrollment Intensity instead of Enrollment Levels.
|Credit Hours||Enrollment Level (Old)||Enrollment Intensity (New)|
|12 (or more)||Full-Time (100%)||100%|
|11||Three-Quarter Time (75%)||92%|
Previously, a Pell Grant-eligible student must have been enrolled at least half-time in a payment period during which they received more than 100% of their scheduled award. Beginning with the 2024-2025 award year, half-time enrollment is no longer required.
Inclusion of family farms or small businesses: When required, families will now report the value of their farms or businesses. While this inclusion continues to be debated in Congress, it will be required to be reported for appropriate families on the 2024-25 FAFSA and can influence the SAI.
Students with unusual circumstances are defined as:
A student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of unusual circumstances, which prevent the student from contacting parents. These circumstances could include—
Other students will continue to qualify as independent on their FAFSA form and are not required to provide parental information if they:
Starting with the 2024-25 Award Year, both first-time and renewal applicants who indicate on their FAFSA form that they have an unusual circumstance will be granted provisional independent status. They will be able to complete the form without providing parental information. They will also receive an estimate of their federal student aid eligibility, which will be subject to a final determination by the institution they attend. If a student’s institution approves their unusual circumstances, their independent status will carry over when they renew their FAFSA form in future award years, and they will be considered independent for as long as they remain at the same institution and their circumstances remain unchanged.
Additional information can be found at StudentAid.gov
Last updated: 11/17/2023