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 the Federal Student Aid (FSA)). The changes are so significant that the 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.

The extension granted to FSA also allowed them to deliver the FAFSA in December instead of October 2024. Do not look for the FAFSA online until December.

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

As mentioned above, but worth repeating, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until December 2023. The exact date has not yet been released by the Department of Education. However, there are many things you should be doing in preparation for your access to the FAFSA. We will detail them here.

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 specifically created 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.
  • 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. It 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.
  • All Contributors must have
    • An FSAID
    • A working 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.

BIG CHANGES in Financial Aid are here – when we said that we meant it.

As referenced earlier, communications will be sent to students with embedded videos starting in September. We will advise you when the FAFSA is available. You will find the videos on this page. And a reminder, we will be setting up, sometime mid-fall, a link to make an FAA appointment regarding the FAFSA Simplification. Until then, count on us to keep you informed.

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

Video 4 Critical FAFSA Update Video

Presented by Alex Guiral - Zoom

Department of Education FAFSA Videos

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

FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions

FAFSA Simplification FAQs (PDF)