The long-awaited changes under the FAFSA Simplification Act will finally see the light of day in December…
The 2022 Fall semester has just begun. Financial Aid Offices around the country have been busy reviewing students’ Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and creating financial aid awards that students (and parents) have happily accepted. Parents have settled any outstanding balance they owe with their school’s Bursar’s Office. Students are back on campus, decorating their rooms, catching up with friends, and enjoying their college experience.
All seems well until they realize the 2023-2024 FAFSA application is steadily approaching.
So, I ask, are you ready?
There was a lot of anticipation for next year’s FAFSA because Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (FAFSA Simplification Act) which did the following:
- Reduce the number of questions on the FAFSA application from 106 to 36.
- Use a new measure to calculate Pell eligibility
If you have ever completed the FAFSA, you know the application is both complex and extensive, which resulted in a significant amount of aid being unclaimed due to parents and students not completing the application or not completing the application accurately.
Today, we are vast approaching the FAFSA opening. The application opens on October 1 of every year.
Again, I ask, are you ready?
If you plan to enroll in school at least half-time during the 2023-2024 award year, you will need to complete or renew your FAFSA.
But what will the form look like? What changes have been made? How will the changes impact you?
I am sure those are some of your questions. Therefore, I will provide you with information related to the Summary of Changes for the Application System that the Education Department (ED) released outlining the summary of changes they made to the 2023-2024 FAFSA application. Hopefully, this article will alleviate some, if not all, of your questions.
First, the 2023-2024 FAFSA form colors are yellow for student information and purple for parent information. The student color of the FAFSA forms continues with the four-year color rotation of green, blue, and yellow-orange.
Secondly, FSA has retired the myStudentAid mobile application. If you have never used it, this won’t impact you directly. Students can still complete the FAFSA application on a mobile device but must log into the StudentAid.gov portal to complete and submit the application.
Next, we looked forward to reducing questions and a more simplified FAFSA application this year. Unfortunately, we must wait a bit longer. FSA announced on June 11, 2021, a “phased approach” to implementing the Simplification Act.
What does that mean?
It means implementation will be done in phases or gradually, not all at once; therefore, you will not see any significant changes to the upcoming FAFSA application. However, they did make a few noteworthy changes. For example, instead of the usual 106 questions, you now have 103.
FSA removed three questions from the 2023-2024 FAFSA. They are as follows:
- Question 21 – Are you Male or Female?
- Question 22 – Register with Selective Service
- Question 23 – Have you been convicted for possessing or selling illegal drugs …
Also, part of the FAFSA Simplification Act allowed incarcerated students to regain eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant. Therefore, they created a new FAFSA application for incarcerated applicants only. The form is located on StudentAid.gov/.
The “Need Analysis Income Threshold” has Increased from $27,000 to $29,000 for an automatic zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
The new application now has pre-fillable answers to the dependency status questions.
Lastly, they added a New Demographic Survey to the “Sign and Submit” section of renewal and initial applications. Students will be asked to provide their gender, race, and ethnicity before submitting the FAFSA application.
That’s it! You made it through the entire post!
That was a lot to take in, but you needed to know. And if I don’t tell you, who will? There are other changes but none as significant as what I outlined above.
Again, we are vast approaching the FAFSA application opening.
Are you ready?
If not, get ready!