FAFSA Simplification Act

 

The UofL Student Financial Aid Office is dedicated to providing timely updates to students, families, and our community. Due to the significant number of changes that are occurring, information presented is subject to change, and portions of our website may not yet be updated for the 2024-2025 academic year. We'll continue to update this page as we receive more and/or updated information from the U.S. Department of Education, and we appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.  For information on how to stay informed about the changes and receive up-to-date notifications and information from the U.S. Department of Education, please visit their website

Below are a few links that will help you complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA.

 KHEAA 2024-2025 Video Walkthrough 

 KHEAA How to create an FSA ID Video Walkthrough 

KHEAA FAFSA Completion Guide 

 

What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

What about the FAFSA application process has changed?

When will the 2024-2025 FAFSA be available?

What is Onboarding?

What is the Parent Wizard?

Are there changes in terminology?

Who must submit financial information?

Is anything changing with the FSA ID?

Will applicants be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange?

How long do I have to complete the FAFSA once started?

Will the number of family members in college be used in determining the Student Aid Index (SAI)?

How will the new FAFSA impact my awards?

Why are there now questions on the FAFSA regarding an applicant's sex, race, and ethnicity?

What isn't changing?


 

What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

The goal of the FAFSA Simplification Act is to create a more streamlined application process with fewer questions and an easier way to transfer the tax information directly from IRS. 

What about the FAFSA application process has changed?

The FAFSA form will reduce the number of questions from 108 to 46. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

When will the 2024-2025 FAFSA be available?

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the FAFSA processing system, the Department of Education will not make the 2024-2025 FAFSA available until sometime in December 2023. This website will be updated once the Department of Education makes a formal announcement regarding the date the 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available.

What is Onborading?

 When the student starts the 2024–2025 FAFSA form for the first time, they are taken through the FAFSA onboarding process. The first page will provide an overview of the FAFSA form and an accompanying video.  The remaining onboarding pages will provide students and parents a guideline about the information that may be required on the FAFSA, a general timeline of how long it will take to complete the FAFSA and what to expect once the FAFSA is submitted.

What is the Parent Wizard?

 One of the most common question’s when filling out the FAFSA is which parent(s)’s financial information is to be submitted on the FAFSA in cases of separation and/or divorce. The Department of Education will be creating an online tool called the Parent Wizard that can help guide the answer about which parent(s) information should be reported on the FAFSA.

Are there changes in terminology?

You will notice new terminology being used in the application and aid eligibility process. 

  • SAI: Student Index Aid (SAI) replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 
  • Contributor: Throughout the application process you will see this term in reference to anyone who is asked to provide information on the FAFSA – student, student spouse, parent(s), and stepparent(s) for example. 
  • Consent: Each contributor 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. 
  • Direct Data Exchange: The tool or process used to transfer tax data between the IRS and the Department of Education.  This tool replaces the IRS Data Retrieval option.
  • FAFSA Submission Summary:  A summary of the information you reported on your FAFSA form; replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR).

Who must Submit financial information?

A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-2025 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form.  This may include the student, parents, stepparents, or a spouse.

Parent contributors will receive an email informing them they've been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID to provide the required information on the student's FAFSA.

Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA, or the application will be incomplete.

 Is anything changing with the FSA ID?

 If you are a dependent student who is required to report two parent contributors on their FAFSA, both may need a FSA ID.  For example:

  • If the parent contributors are married and filed their applicable taxes as ‘married filing jointly’, only one parent needs a FSA ID.
  • If the parent contributors are married and filed their applicable taxes as ‘married filing separately’, they will both need a FSA ID.

Students and parents are encouraged to create and FSA ID at least two weeks prior to December. To create an FSA ID the individual will need his/her Social Security number and own mobile phone number and/or email address. 

Will applicants be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange?

 Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-2025, all persons on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

How long do I have to complete the FAFSA once started?

If invited parent contributors do no submit their information OR if the student does not sign/submit the FAFSA within 45 days of the application being initiated, the application will be deleted.  Parents will get an email reminder from the U.S. Department of Education every 7 days, once they have been invited to merge their data to their student’s applications.

Will the number of family members in college be used in determining the Student Aid index (SAI)?

Though utilized in the formula to calculate the Expected Family Contribution—EFC (which will no longer be calculated starting with 2024-2025), the number of family members in college will not be utilized in the formula to calculate the Student Aid Index (SAI).

How will the new FAFSA impact my awards?

Students of families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Federal Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Federal Pell Grant awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by the Student Aid Index (SAI).

The new FAFSA formula allows for a larger Income Protection Allowances.  The Income Protection Allowance (IPA) covers a family's basic living expenses and is excluded from SAI formulas. New, larger IPAs lower the amount of student or parent income considered to be available to pay for college. IPAs will increase by 20% for parents, up to about $2400 (35%) for most students, and up to about $6500 (60%) for students who are single parents.

Why are there now questions on the FAFSA regarding an applicant's sex, race, and ethnicity?

 These questions will have NO effect on federal student aid eligibility.  The Department of Education is adding these questions for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, college and universities will NOT receive this data from the FAFSA application.

What isn't changing?

While the FAFSA application is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that will not change. For example:

  • The FAFSA form will still be required for consideration of federal and state need-based financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if parental information must be provided on the FAFSA will remain the same.
  • The FAFSA form will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you'll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-2025 FAFSA. Families with significant reductions in income can consider submitting a professional judgement request to the Student Financial Aid Office.