The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is changing for the 2024-25 academic year, and some of the changes may affect you. These are changes from the federal government that will affect eligibility for aid. Below you will find a few questions pulled directly from the Department of Education’s FAFSA simplification FAQs, as well as a few additional updates from our financial aid team.
There is no action needed from you at this time. We will let you know when the FAFSA becomes available for you to complete (which will likely be around January 2024).
Highlights from the Department of Education’s FAFSA simplification FAQs
What is FAFSA simplification?
- It’s a redesign of the FAFSA, taking it from approximately 140 questions to around 36 questions. This will make it easier for families and students to complete the FAFSA.
What are the benefits of FAFSA simplification?
- Reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners and students from low-income backgrounds).
What major changes will FAFSA simplification introduce?
- Rather than importing their tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, applicants will consent to providing their Federal Tax Information (FTI) via a direct data share with the IRS. This enhanced data sharing simplifies the applicant’s experience.
- Eligibility for federal student aid will be expanded in the following ways:
- New methodology will be introduced to calculate and determine applicant eligibility. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).
- Federal Pell Grant access will be expanded and linked to family size and federal poverty levels, which will allow more students and families from low-income backgrounds to qualify.
FAFSA updates from Earlham’s financial aid team
These updates from Earlham’s financial aid team may not be found on the Department of Education’s FAQs page:
- The filing timeline will be different. For those who used to file in November, it won’t be available until around January this year (we do not yet know the exact dates).
- Your parent who needs to complete the FAFSA will need to be invited by you, the student, to complete the FAFSA.
- Up until now, you’ve reported the number of people in your family and how many are in college. Going forward, the FAFSA will only take into account the number of people in your family (not the number in college).
- Up until now, family farms or small businesses have not needed to report their value. Going forward, that will have to be reported on the FAFSA.
- Up until now, if your parents are divorced or separated, you’ve included info about the parent you lived with most in the last 12 months. The new FAFSA will require you to instead report the parent who provided most financial support. A wizard in the application will help you determine which parent that will be.
- If parents are married but filing separately, each parent will have to be invited to complete the FAFSA.
- We are awaiting information from the federal government, so we do not yet know how the new calculations (from EFC to SAI) will change your aid eligibility.