As a result of the recently enacted FAFSA Simplification Act and FUTURE Act, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process is currently undergoing a major overhaul effective with the 2024-25 school year. The major goals of the changes are to streamline the process with fewer questions, create a seamless way to populate financial data directly from the IRS, and increase transparency and clarity.
The following highlights some of the most significant changes:
Typically, the FAFSA is available on October 1 for the following fall semester. As a result of the legislative changes, the Department of Education (ED) anticipates the FAFSA will be available for the 2024-25 school year sometime in December 2023.
Colleges and universities must also adapt their programming and systems for these sweeping changes. We expect it will take between 1-2 months to fully implement and test the changes before we can begin creating award packages for the 2024-25 school year.
These delay are only expected for the 2024-25 school year and processes will resume to their October 1 timeline during the 2025-26 school year.
A contributor is a person whose information is required on the FAFSA. For a dependent student, the student and the student’s parents (or step-parent if remarried) are considered contributors. For an independent student, the student and his/her spouse (if applicable) are considered contributors.
While parents and spouses may be considered contributors, they are not legally obligated to help a student pay for college and are not responsible for the student’s bill. Being a contributor only means the person’s information is used to determine the student’s federal aid eligibility.
All contributors will need a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID and password. Students and contributors are encouraged to set up their FSA ID in advance of the December 2023 release of the FAFSA. Students and parents that already have an FSA ID do not need to set up a new ID.
Contributors that do not have a social security number will be able to apply for an FSA ID. This functionality is expected later this fall (release date not known at this time).
All contributors on the student’s FAFSA must provide consent to have their federal tax information directly exchanged from the IRS to the student’s FAFSA. Even non-tax-filers and individuals without a social security number must provide consent. If any contributor does not give consent, the student is ineligible to receive Title IV aid.
The Student Aid Index is an index used by colleges and universities to determine a student’s federal aid eligibility. This was previously known as the EFC. However, it is not solely a name change. The methodology used to compute the SAI has also changed. One notable change that may impact current students is that the number of students in college will no longer have an impact on the SAI.
The FAFSA Simplification Act extends the Pell Grant to more students and links eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. Based on preliminary reports, Buffalo State expects to see more students qualify for the Pell Grant and more students qualify for the maximum Pell Grant award. However, there may be limited cases where a student’s eligibility is reduced due to these changes (particularly if their family has multiple students in college).
Students that are approved for a dependency override or homeless youth will no longer need to reaffirm their status in each subsequent academic year while at the same school, unless the student informs the institution that their situation has changed.
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