Welcome back to the Send Your Kids To College blog! This blog is a tool for WNY families and students as they journey through the college planning process. The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed in 2020 and represents an overhaul of the application process and systems used to award federal student aid. Recently, the Department of Education announced the details of a new FAFSA form that takes effect for the 2024-25 school year. However, some of these changes are already taking effect for the 2023-24 school year. Here is what has already changed as well as what's to be expected.
FAFSA Upcoming Simplifications
Already questions have been eliminated from the form taking the usual 108 down to just 36. The Selective Service Registration was removed, meaning that male students under 26 are no longer required to enroll in the draft in order to receive aid. Questions dealing with drug-related convictions have also been removed, allowing students with such charges to receive Pell Grants. The simplification of the form is believed to increase completion rates and improve college affordability.
Expanding Access to Federal Pell Grants
Pell Grants are becoming more easily accessible with these changes and link eligibility to family size and federal poverty level. For students whose school closed while they were enrolled or if the school is found to have misled the student, they will also be eligible for Pell Grant. Along with qualifications, the way in which Pell Grants are calculated is also changing. Students with an SAI of $0 or less can apply for the maximum amount of $7,395. If your SAI is greater than the maximum Pell Grant Amount, students may still qualify for the minimum amount. This is going to take multiple aspects into account such as family size, gross income, and poverty guidelines.
Advantages of Improved Information Input in FAFSA Application
Part of the FAFSA Simplification Act is requiring that the form allows users to pull their federal tax information directly from the IRS. Tax returns no longer have to be dug up in order to complete the application.
Replacing the EFC with SAI
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is going to be replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI). Students and their families will see a different way in which their ability to afford college and determine aid is measured. The new analysis formula removed the number of family members in college from the calculation. It allows a minimum SAI of -1500, aiding colleges in determining students most in need rather than having a surplus of students with a $0 EFC. Aid administrators will subtract the student’s SAI from their determined cost of attendance in order to calculate aid eligibility and amounts.
Let Us Help
Overall, these changes are going to be beneficial to students and their families. The application process will be much more organized, accepting, and efficient. However, navigating so many changes may prove to be difficult. That’s why we at Send Your Kids To College are here to make the process as effortless as possible. For more information visit our FAFSA help page or give us a call at (716) 689-7477.