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4 Big Changes to the FAFSA

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

The upcoming changes to the FAFSA are vast. This will be the first installment of what the upcoming changes will be to the FAFSA in the coming year through 2024. This entry is an overview of the changes to come but is not yet a comprehensive look at what is to come. The next blog entries will take a closer look at what each of these changes mean for families and the direct implications and consequences, good or bad, for families that will have to navigate the FAFSA in the coming months and years.

#1. Simplified Form

The FAFSA form can be a hassle. By the time the 2023-2024 school year rolls around several changes will be made to the FAFSA form. Advocates and legislators have argued that the length of the FAFSA form “can keep students and families from completing it.” Based on this opinion, the FAFSA will go from 108 questions, mostly financially based, to 36 questions. The way that all of these questions can be stricken from the form comes from the change in Expected Family Contribution or EFC. As we will discuss further, the EFC will now be called the Student Aid Index, or SAI.

The FAFSA form will also no longer include questions on whether the applicant was ever convicted of drug-related crimes. This means that students with previous drug offenses will no longer be ineligible for receiving federal financial aid.

#2. Income Protection Allowance

The parent income protection allowance will increase by 20%, while the student income protection allowance will be 35% higher, except for students who are single parents, who will benefit from a 60% increase in the income protection allowance.

This change increases the parent income protection allowance by about $4,000 to $8,000 for most families.

It increases the income protection allowance for dependent students by about $2,400, for independent students by about $3,800 to $6,100, and for single parent students by about $6,500.

This change reduces the student aid index by up to about $5,000 for dependent students and up to about $3,000 for independent students.

In summary, starting in 2023-24, the IPA (income protection allowance) that is calculated in the FAFSA will no longer reduce the IPA for having multiple children in school. However, FAFSA will no longer divide the family contribution by the number of students they have in their family in college, instead, a higher student aid index (amount of funding) will be implemented for families that have two or more students in college at the same time. This will have a different effect on each family in each socioeconomic level, potentially placing a heavier financial burden on families in the middle to upper economic classes.

#3. Expected Family Contribution

The EFC or Expected Family Contribution is being changed to the Student Aid Index. As mentioned before, this is part of the FAFSA that is simplified to reduce the length and breadth of the form This is done by calculating financial contributions from the family based upon previous years tax forms and family assets. For many families, this could mean that the family is responsible for paying much more than previously accounted with the EFC form of calculation.

The purpose for this change is so that the schools can more easily identify students and families with the greatest financial need to attend college. In some low-income cases, and based on the school’s cost of attendance, certain low-income students could receive more aid than the cost of attendance.

#4. Federal Pell Grants

The new Federal Pell grant eligibility will be simplified and based on family size and family adjusted gross income as compared to federal poverty guidelines.

Normally, a student will be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant if their student aid index is less than or equal to 90% of the maximum Pell Grant. The student’s Federal Pell Grant will be equal to the difference between the maximum Pell Grant and the student aid index.

This change in the Pell guidelines is estimated to increase the number of Pell grant recipients by 500,000, and by 2023-2024, there will be other changes to eligibility.

  • Again, students who have been convicted of a drug-related crime will become eligible.

  • Those who could not complete their education due to school closures would again be eligible for federal Pell grants.

  • Those who qualified for student loan cancellation due to a borrower defense repayment claim, would be eligible.

  • Those families/individuals/spouses who depended on unemployment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic would have an AGI calculation of zero, making these families eligible for the Pell grant maximum.

Why is this Important?

This information is important because each of these changes effects every family that is considering or planning for college. The financial implications of these changes will affect how each and every family plan for college. At Send Your Kids to College, we make it our mission to help families make that next big step for their children and having college specialists in your corner will be crucial in navigating the changes that are to come.

We Will Help

Attending college, and paying for it, has echoes throughout the rest of each students life, and we understand the importance of education and how it is attained. If you are in the midst of planning for college or just getting started, we are here to help. Give us a call today or leave your information here, and we would love to work with you and your family on creating a plan for your future. Don’t be left in the dark in making one of the largest financial decisions of your family’s life. Send Your Kids to College is here to help our neighbors in Western New York.


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