We have been hearing a lot about FAFSA simplification for the past few years now, but so far have not really seen anything public except a few minor changes. Work is being completed behind the scenes, however, which will be rolling out in the next few years.
At a recent industry conference, CFAA had a chance to preview potential changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA. Although that is quite some time down the road (we are currently working on the 2023-24 version), here are some changes in the works:
- Replacement of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI) from Award Year 2024-25 forward. The Student Aid Index is a number that will determine students’ eligibility for certain types of federal student aid. SAI formulas will be based on a student’s dependent or independent status, and number of dependents for independent students. Independent students will no longer provide parent data.
- Changes in federal Pell Grant eligibility.
- The FAFSA Simplification Act modifies the questions that students and their families must answer on the FAFSA form. This will result in changes to FAFSA Form Field and Data Elements. Whenever possible, the FAFSA will prefill information to minimize the number of questions that need to be answered.
- Questions will be added to capture data for each person’s role who is completing the FAFSA, including student, student spouse, parent, and parent spouse. Additional demographic and financial information might be collected for these various roles.
- The Verification process will use only a random selection methodology for both financial and identity verification.
- Students will still be able to file a paper application. Users will need an FSA ID to access the FAFSA application. There will no longer be the ability to start a FAFSA form with just student identifiers; however, new procedures will allow users without an SSN to acquire an FSA ID.
- The list of colleges to receive the information will be expanded to 20, increased from the current 10.
- The IRS DRT (Data Retrieval Tool) is being replaced by a new direct data exchange with the IRS. Data provided by the IRS will continue to be masked. Consent will be required to retrieve and distribute this information.
Keep in mind this is early in the development phase, and there may still be changes as the final version is completed. CFAA will continue to monitor the situation, and provide updates as new information is received.
CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my bi-weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter.