FAFSA Simplification Act

“FAFSA® Simplification Act: On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions that amend the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act and includes the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and expands access to federal student aid.”

Additional information can be found at Studentaid.gov.

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Key program changes

Key changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Most of the changes related to FAFSA simplification will begin with the 2024-2025 application. Due to the changes, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available as of the traditional October 1 date. The 2024-2025 FAFSA form will be available for students and parents by Dec. 31, 2023.
  • The number of questions will be reduced, and the application will maximize the use of previously collected data.
  • A student is referred to as the “applicant” and anyone else asked to provide information on the aid application—student’s spouse, student’s parent(s) and/or stepparents(s)—is called a “contributor” to the application.
  • Everyone contributing to the FAFSA form online must have their own studentaid.gov account.
  • Parents without a Social Security Number will be able to apply for an FSA ID.
  • All students and contributors must provide consent to have their federal tax information transferred directly into the FAFSA form from the IRS via direct data exchange.
  • The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • The FAFSA Simplification Act expands the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
  • Schools will use the SAI to determine eligibility for federal financial aid programs. The University of Nevada, Reno will also use the SAI to determine financial need for need-based institutional and state funding.
  • SAI will no longer take the number of students in college into consideration. This may reduce need-based aid eligibility for current students with siblings in college.

Terminology changes

  • Contributor: anyone who is asked to provide information on the applicants FAFSA – student spouse, parent(s), and stepparent(s) for example. 
  • Consent: Applicants and contributors will now need to provide their consent to their Federal Tax Information (FTI) being included in the FAFSA, even if they did not file a U.S. tax return. 
  • SAI: Student Index Aid (SAI) replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 
  • FTI: Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred directly from the IRS. 
  • DDX: Direct Data Exchange

FAFSA Simplification FAQs

View these common questions regarding the FAFSA Simplification Act.