January 11, 2024

6 Cliff Notes To The New FAFSA

Happy New Year, folks!  

FAFSA, aka Free Application for Federal Student Aid*, was originally designed to help students pay for higher educational pursuits – but let’s be honest, it’s not been the easiest of forms to fill out. Because many folks had trouble using this tool, along came the revamp as of December 31, 2023.


A few things you can expect in the New Year with the new FAFSA:

1. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI): Families were getting confused by EFC. Less focused on what families would have to contribute, the EFC was used to determine the amount of aid a student would receive for higher education. The SAI will work to clear up some of this confusion.

2. Any financial aid contributor must have an FSA ID for Student: This includes the student, a student's spouse, adoptive or biological parent, or a parent's spouse to use via StudentAid.gov; The change no longer limits this access to the student and parent, only.

3. Expanded Pell Grant eligibility: Any student that falls below the poverty threshold will automatically qualify for the max Pell Grant allowed per school year, creating more opportunity for more students.

4. Additional language options: The FAFSA can be accessed in the 11 most common languages spoken in the United States.

5. Elimination of Sibling Discount Provisions: The removal of this discount is due to the adjustment in calculations for the new FAFSA.

6. Increased colleges on application: Instead of the previous 10 allowed, students can list up to 20 different colleges when applying.


By following these updates, parents and students will be able to more easily understand the financial aid process and make more well-informed financial decisions about their educational journey.


*The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a project of the Federal Student Aid Office of the U.S. Department of Education, and is subject to change. Consult the official FAFSA website for more information. 

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