FAFSA Simplification

What is FAFSA Simplification?

In 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, as well as a result of the 2019 passing of the FUTURE ACT (which allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to share data with Federal Student Aid (FSA)). The changes are so significant that FSA needed to request an extension from Congress (provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022) to push out full implementation from 2023-2024 to 2024-2025.

IMPORTANT NEWS! As of April 17, 2024, Berkeley College has received over two thousand 2024-2025 FAFSAs. Unfortunately, many have been delivered to us with inaccurate data, from the department. In addition, we are still receiving rejected FAFSAs. One primary reason for this is that students have responded YES to the Unsubsidized Loans ONLY question #7 on the FAFSA. This halted the collection of contributor's data leaving the student with only unsubsidized loans and no grant eligibility. The Department recognizes that question #7 was confusing and has since changed it. Until the Department makes a correction mode available so students can make corrections to their FAFSAs, we strongly recommend you check the status of your FAFSA by following these steps:

  1. Log in to StudentAid.gov using your FSAID username and password
  2. Navigate to your account Dashboard.
  3. Select "2024-25 FAFSA Form" from the "My Activity" page. Your FAFSA application status will be one of the following:

Draft: Your section of the FAFSA form is incomplete.

In Progress: You provided your consent, approval, and signature to your section of the FAFSA form, but the FAFSA form has not been submitted yet.

In Review: You have submitted your form and your application is still processing.

Processed: Your application was processed successfully. No further action is needed.

Action Required: Your application requires further action from you or your contributor(s). In some cases, you may need to contact your college or career/trade school to resolve the issue.

Closed: Your FAFSA form was never submitted and can no longer be submitted because the federal FAFSA deadline passed.

If you answered YES to FAFSA question #7 you should correct it as soon as possible.

VERY IMPORTANT NEWS – Students may now make corrections to their FAFSA. Find detailed instructions on the FAFSA website: How To Correct or Update Your FAFSA®.

WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO START YOUR FAFSA as soon as possible, if you have not done so already. If you have completed your FAFSA, and it needs corrections, follow the link above and find out how to do so – and make corrections as soon as possible.

WHAT BERKELEY COLLEGE HAS DONE FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER: In the absence of 2024-2025 FAFSAs we have started to send out award packages based on 2023-2024 FAFSA. We will start to switch these out if, and when, we receive 2024-2025 accurate FAFSAs.

ARE YOU HAVING TECHNICAL ISSUES WITH THE FAFSA? Many students around the country are running into technical difficulties with the new version of the FAFSA (2024-2025). If you are having technical difficulties with the online FAFSA, your Berkeley College Financial Aid Team has some workarounds that we can share with you and ensure that you can complete the FAFSA. If you have not already done so, please attempt the FAFSA on your own. If you have any questions or technical difficulties schedule an appointment with a Berkeley College Financial Aid Advisor.

FAFSA KNOWN UNRESOLVED ISSUES – this link will take you to the Department of Education’s website where they show known unresolved and resolved issues. If you are having technical difficulty we suggest that you review this page periodically.

NOTE: We have provided updates via email with embedded videos containing very important information throughout the fall term. You will find the videos on this page. Check often for the latest info. 

You should also know that FAFSA Simplification not only brings changes to the FAFSA itself but also changes to student aid availability. Most students will find themselves eligible for more aid because of the switch to the Student Aid Index (SAI) from the previous Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Some students may experience a loss in eligibility. If that occurs, we strongly recommend that you reach out to a Financial Aid Advisor (FAA) to discuss your situation. Remember, most students will find increased or the same eligibility.

Actual Changes to the FAFSA:

The main intent of Congress was to make it easier for students to complete the FAFSA.

  • The number of questions on the FAFSA has decreased from over 100 to less than 50.
  • Students will be able to list up to 20 schools on their FAFSA.
  • Students will be asked to determine who their “Contributors” are, which will avoid the need (for the most part) for the college to request tax information and will also make it less likely to be selected for verification by FSA.

More on “contributors” below.

Changes to Calculating Your Aid Eligibility:

As referenced above, students and their families will experience a different calculation for determining need.

  • The new need analysis formula:
    • Removes the number of family members in college from the calculation. This would be a reason why some students may see a loss in eligibility.
      • If you find yourself in this situation, we strongly urge you to contact an FAA.
      • Later in the fall, we will provide a link for students who have FAFSA Simplification questions or concerns.
  • Allows students to have SAIs (replacing the EFC) below zero. As low as -$1,500
    • FSA guidance is that, in packaging Title IV (TIV) Federal Aid we are to treat negatives as zero. However, this change can have a positive impact on other aid (stay tuned for more information).
  • There will be a separate criterion for Federal Pell Grant, not completely based on the SAI (it had been totally based on the EFC).
    • The first determination is to see if a student is eligible for “Maximum Pell.”
    • If not eligible for the maximum, then FSA will determine if a student is eligible for the “Minimum Pell.”
    • If not eligible for either of the above, the college will perform a “Calculated Pell,” which will take the SAI into account.
    • Many students will find themselves more eligible for Federal Pell Grant.
  • Child support received will be included in assets and not as untaxed income.
  • Families who own a small business/farm that also serves as primary residence will now have assets of that business/farm considered in their need analysis calculation.

What is a Contributor and Why is it so Important?

When starting the FAFSA, students will experience an “onboarding” where FSA explains what a “contributor” is as well as having a "Parent Wizard" to help you determine who your contributor(s) are. The Wizard will not be available again for subsequent returns to the form. For now:

  • Contributor: Any individual required to provide consent and approval for federal tax information (FTI) and their signature on the FAFSA® form, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or the parent’s spouse (stepparent).
  • FAFSA Federal Tax Information (FTI) consent must be provided by all of the student’s contributors.
  • We highly recommend that you review the Determining Contributors Tab on this page.
  • All Contributors must have
    • An FSA ID*
    • A working email address
  • To assign your contributor(s) you must have their
    • Social Security Number (SSN) – if there is no SSN, there will be a "NO SSN" option. Click HERE  for instructions to get FSA ID with no SSN.
    • Date of Birth (DOB)
    • Email address
  • You, the student, will be inviting your contributors to provide consent to the IRS via the FAFSA
  • If there are one or more Contributors that do not provide consent, the student will be ineligible for most federal (and possibly state) financial aid
    • We have not yet heard about the new state requirements.
    • The only aid a student can receive without a contributor is unsubsidized loans.

* Obtaining an FSA ID for contributors who do not have a Social Security Number is a similar process as it is for everyone. They can use the same FSA ID linkContributors (the student, parent, student’s spouse, or parent’s spouse), can create a StudentAid.gov account to access and complete the online FAFSA form. Contributors who already have a verified account username and password will use their existing credentials to sign in and access the form. Those people without a Social Security Number will need to answer Knowledge Based Questions (KBQ) such as a multiple choice of which of these cars have you owned. If the KBQ fails once the contributor will be provided information regarding next steps.

As mentioned above, please send your FAFSA Confirmation Pages to StudentFinance@BerkeleyCollege.edu.  This will help us expedite attendance for the Spring semester.

Count on Financial Aid to keep you informed.

FAFSA Tutorials

Video 1 Demo and walkthrough of the new 2024-25 FAFSA

Presented by Federal Student Aid

Video 2 What’s Changed for the 2024-25 FAFSA Form?

Presented by Federal Student Aid

Berkeley College FAFSA Videos

Video 1 FAFSA Welcome Video

Presented by Will Moya - Zoom

Video 2 Changes to FAFSA 24-25 Video

Presented by Alex Guiral - Zoom

Video 3 Introduction to the Contributor Video

Presented by Christina Dhuyvetter - Zoom

FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions

Determining your Contributor

Video 1 Who are my contributors - Federal Video

Presented by Federal Student Aid

Video 2 Determining your Contributor(s) - Berkeley Video

Presented by Alex Guiral - Zoom

FAFSA Reference Guide

The Financial Aid Team has created this document to inform you of all the steps and things you will need to do/know in order to complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA successfully.


You must complete an application to obtain an FSA ID Go to the Student Aid website to do this if you have not done so already. With that ID you will be able to:

  1. Complete the FAFSA
  2. Sign Master Promissory Notes for student loans
  3. Explore loan repayment plans
  4. Use tools such as loan counseling and more

You will need to have your Social Security Number available. Your contributors will not be required to have a Social Security Number, but you may not receive federal student aid without one unless you are a resident of one of the freely associated states, which are:

  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Guam
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Republic of Palau

After creating your FSA ID, should you forget your username, you can use a verified email address or cell phone number to access your account. There will be detailed instructions regarding this as well as how to reset your password.


Contributors are anyone required to provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred directly from the Internal Revenue Service to your FAFSA

You, the student, is considered a contributor

Other contributors may include:

  1. Your spouse
  2. Your biological or adoptive parent(s) or your parent’s spouse (stepparent)

IMPORTANT NOTE: People who you identify as contributors do not have an obligation to pay for your education.

Determining if someone other than you is a required contributor on the FAFSA:

Depends on:

  1. Your dependency status
  2. Your marital status
  3. The way taxes are filed


– you need their:

  1. Full name
  2. Social Security Number (if they have one)
  3. Date of birth
  4. Email address (make sure it is a working mailing box)


  1. Like you, each contributor must have their own FSA ID (there is a new function in place for people without a Social Security Number to obtain an FSA ID)
  2. The contributors will receive an email (as a result of your entering them on your FAFSA), with a link they can use to access your FAFSA, asking that they provide the needed approval from the IRS
    1. All contributor approvals must be completed – otherwise, you will not be eligible for federal student aid

You should be talking with your contributors to prepare them for the email they will receive. You should also have them obtain an FSA ID if they have not already done so.

It is against the law for people to share FSA IDs or any login credentials!


The new FAFSA has eliminated most of the need to have documents on hand beyond what is described above (Social Security Numbers, Dates of Birth, and Email Addresses). However, should you be required to answer questions manually, it would be helpful to have:

  1. Your tax return (parent(s) should have theirs)
  2. Record of child support received
  3. Current balances of cash (savings/checking accounts)
  4. Net worth of any businesses and/or farms


  1. Student State of Legal Residence – when completing this question, if you have always lived in the same state then the date would be your birth date MM/YYYY
  2. Be careful when responding to PARENT PARTICIPATION IN THE FAFSA PROCESS
    1. If your parents refuse to provide their consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred into your FAFSA form,  you won’t be eligible for federal student aid.
      1. We suggest contacting us about this situation. Parents are sometimes reluctant to complete the information due to concerns about their identity and personal information. The Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service are both sworn by law to protect these things and possibly a parent’s position on the matter can be changed after a conversation with us.
    2. If you have Unusual Circumstances, you can be determined, by the Department of Education, to be Provisionally Independent. If you do this, it will require you to work with us, providing information and supporting documentation that we need to make a final determination on your dependency status. Read THIS for further details as provided by the Department of Education.
      1. If you fall into an Unusual Circumstance, please know that it will delay the approval of your final awards. We are prepared to assist you in this regard.
    3. You can also indicate Special Circumstances on the FAFSA. Special circumstances refer to any changes in your (and/or contributor's) finances, enrollment plans, or living situation that may affect your cost of attendance or expected contribution. Like Usual Circumstances, it will require you to work with us, providing information and supporting documentation, that we need to make a final determination on your family's financial situation.
      1. If you fall into a Special Circumstance, please know that it will delay the approval of your final awards. We are prepared to assist you in this regard.


    1. We are offering FAFSA Workshops which can assist you and your family in understanding and completing the FAFSA. Click to register for a workshop.
    2. If you have attempted the FAFSA, and you are having problems we can assist you by:
      1. Making an appointment with a Financial Aid Advisor.
      2. Calling the Berkeley College Financial Aid Help Desk at 833-613-1364
    3. Review our FAFSA Simplification webpage. There you will find additional information and details about the new FAFSA. This includes both Berkeley College and Department of Education videos.

    We hope this document will help you prepare for completing your FAFSA.

    Best regards,

    Your Financial Aid Team