FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA Simplification Act has recently been passed by Congress to streamline the financial aid process for students and families. Among other key changes this legislation will reduce the total number of questions students see when filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), attempts to clarify the questions that will be asked, and will aim to increase Federal Pell Grant eligibility. While in some cases the FAFSA simplification could increase some students’ financial aid eligibility, others may see a decrease in aid. Key changes that can impact the application process and resulting financial aid offers for students are outlined below.

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 anticipated launch date of the 2024-25 FAFSA will be in December 2023. 
  • The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a different way to determine aid eligibility.  
  • The FAFSA will use data received directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to calculate Federal Pell Grant eligibility and the 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 Maryland will also use the SAI to determine the financial need for need-based institutional funding such as the University of Maryland Grant. 
  • 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.  
  • For students whose parents are separated or divorced, the guidance on which parent income to report has changed to the parent who provides the most financial support to the student, rather than the parent who lives at the student’s primary residence.
  • The net worth of a business is no longer limited to those with more than 100 full-time employees. Applicants will be asked to report the net worth of all businesses, regardless of the size of the business.
  • Parents without a Social Security Number will be able to apply for an FSA ID. This will speed up FAFSA processing time as they’ll be able to submit the form online, rather than having to print, sign and mail their application.

To help ensure that students and families—and the partners critical to getting student aid dollars into the hands of students—are best prepared for a successful 2024–25 FAFSA cycle, Federal Student Aid has launched the Better FAFSA Better Future Roadmap, which includes the timeline for students and families below.

Delivery Date Resource

Summer 2023

Preparing for 2024–25 FAFSA Outreach Campaign

A communications campaign, including videos, directed to students and families highlights what they should do to prepare for the new FAFSA form. The campaign also will provide key facts about what to expect from the new FAFSA process, including how to create an FSA ID, features of the 2024–25 FAFSA form, and Federal Pell Grant eligibility.

Summer through Fall 2023

Financial Aid Estimator and Preview Tools

Online tools for students and families will provide an early estimate of their Student Aid Index and potential eligibility, as well as visual previews of the new FAFSA form.

Summer through Fall 2023

FAFSA Information Updates on StudentAid.gov

Ongoing updates to FAFSA information and help resources will be posted to StudentAid.gov.

December 2023

2024–25 FAFSA Available