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FAFSA Simplification Act

The U.S. FAFSA Simplification Act involves a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal financial aid to students, beginning with the 2024-25 award year. Read on to learn more, and check back often, as we will update this information whenever more details become available.

Impact and Benefits

  • The FAFSA is getting a makeover with the hopes of making it even easier for students and their families to submit.
  • There will be fewer questions on the FAFSA to answer, and fewer requirements overall, and your tax information will be retrieved through a direct data exchange with the IRS.
  • The U.S. Department of Education also estimates that there will be an increase in the number of students eligible to receive the federal Pell Grant.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID

Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all users/contributors must have an FSA ID and password to fill out the FAFSA, even those who don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN). Those without an SSN, however, cannot yet create an FSA ID. We expect this access to become available around the same time the FAFSA is released. Processing your FSA ID can take up to 5 business days, so we recommend creating it at least a week before you start your FAFSA.
An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on Department of Education websites, such as the FAFSA site.
Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all contributors (student, student’s spouse, and/or parent) must have their own FSA ID.
To retrieve a forgotten FSA ID or password, visit the Federal Student Aid website and select either “Forgot My Username” or “Forgot My Password.”

If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you can create it now!

In general, because the process can take up to 5 business days, we recommend creating it at least a week before you start your FAFSA.

What’s Changing?

A contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student’s college costs.

  • You, the student, 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 your FAFSA.
  • Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of your FAFSA. They will be able to see and complete only their own specific section of your FAFSA.
  • All contributors must provide consent to have their federal tax information transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. If consent is not provided by all parties, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional; moving forward, it’s required.

If your parents are divorced or separated, the contributing parent(s) is the parent (and their spouse, if remarried) who provided the greater portion of your financial support during the 12 months immediately prior to filing the FAFSA.

It no longer will default to the parent you primarily lived with during the past 12 months.

The number of people in your family will be automatically pulled in from your federal tax information.

The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA, but it will be excluded from the federal, state, and institutional financial aid calculation.

The net worth of any small business and/or farm assets must be included on the FAFSA.

Remember, net worth = asset value - asset debt.

The final figure calculated by the FAFSA will no longer be called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Rather, it will be called the Student Aid Index (SAI) to more accurately describe how that number is used to determine financial aid eligibility.

Student Aid Report (SAR) → FAFSA Submission Summary
Similarly, the SAR, which is the confirmation of what’s been submitted, will now be referred to as the FAFSA Submission Summary.

What’s Not Changing?

The FAFSA will continue to be made available on an annual basis for federal financial aid consideration and students must meet the eligibility requirements.
The requirement that determines whether you, the student, must provide parent information on your FAFSA remains the same. The FAFSA includes a series of questions and you must be able to answer ‘Yes’ to at least one question in order to be considered independent for financial aid purposes. Learn more.

The FAFSA will use prior-prior tax data, which could be up to two years old.

If you or your family have experienced significant changes in income or have expenses that are not reflected on the FAFSA, your special circumstances may be eligible for a professional judgment.