Changes have been made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that might affect high school seniors looking to attend in the 2023-24 school year. These changes are part of the FAFSA Simplification Act.
One of the changes this year is the open date and deadline to complete this application. Traditionally, applications open in October, and students were encouraged to complete them by the end of that month. This year, the application opens in December but will need to be completed before the end of the year, so students need to work quickly. According to the Department of Education, the FAFSA opening date is expected to move back to October 1 in 2024.
Additionally, a major change that students need to be aware of is the change in the measure used to determine aid. This will change from the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Student Aid Index (SAI). Although both systems are similar in that they calculate financial need, some changes aim to simplify the process. One, it removes the number of family members in college from the calculation. Two, it allows for a SAI minimum of negative $1,500. Finally, it implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.
Speaking of Pell Grants, the FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. It will also allow incarcerated students the ability to receive a Federal Pell Grant.
Another important feature to note is that anyone required to fill out part of a student’s FAFSA will need to create their own FSA ID and password. Luckily, it can be simply created on the StudentAid.gov website.
Students need to complete this form this year to apply for many scholarships and grants including the Flint Promise Scholarship administered by Flint & Genesee Education & Talent.
For more information on the changes implemented for the upcoming school year, click here.