Sep. 6, 2023 – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has long been the gateway to financial assistance for students pursuing higher education in the United States. Traditionally, the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year is made available on October 1st. For the 2024-2025 academic year, the United States Department of Education has announced a significant change: the FAFSA will be available sometime in December of 2023. This delay in availability is due to implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act.
The FAFSA Simplification Act has introduced a range of changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the broader financial aid process. Key changes include:
• Simplified Form: The FAFSA form itself was streamlined and simplified. The number of questions on the form was reduced, making it easier and quicker for students and families to complete. Transfer of income information from the IRS into the FAFSA will be automatic if consent is provided.
• Student Aid Index (SAI): The Expected Family Contribution (EFC), a number that determined a student’s eligibility for federal student aid, was renamed to the Student Aid Index (SAI). This was done to better reflect that the number is an index used by schools to calculate financial aid and not necessarily the amount a family is expected to contribute.
• Pell Grant Eligibility: The Act made changes to the formula that determines Pell Grant eligibility, aiming to expand access to the grant for more students.
• Unusual/Special Circumstances: The FAFSA process for students with unusual/special circumstances will be simplified, reducing barriers to accessing an education.
• Multiple Children in College: Previously, if a family had multiple children in college at the same time, the EFC was divided by the number of children. The FAFSA Simplification Act removed this provision, meaning that the SAI would remain the same regardless of the number of siblings in college.
“FAFSA Simplification will ultimately be a big win for students and parents,” said Colin Benner, Coordinator in the Santa Fe College Financial Aid Office. “We have limited information right now, but are dedicated to supporting the Santa Fe College community through the challenges that come with such a significant change.”
As high school seniors and their parents await the release of the new FAFSA, the most important thing they can do to prepare is go to StudentAid.gov and create an FSA ID. Anyone that needs to sign or contribute information to a FAFSA form will need their own FSA ID.
Financial aid funds help students and their families pay for the cost of attending college. The Santa Fe College Financial Aid Office is dedicated to ensuring students receive the maximum financial aid offer they are eligible for.
If you need further assistance, financial aid team members are ready to assist you in multiple ways. Visit the SF Financial Aid contact page for additional information.