March 2021
Five Upcoming Changes as a Result of FAFSA Simplification

FAFSA changes are coming! Included in December COVID-19 relief legislation was the FAFSA Simplification Act. These changes to the FAFSA aren’t immediate, but will be rolled out with the 2023-2024 FAFSA, which will become available on October 1, 2022. Here are a few of the most impactful changes.
1. Goodbye to the EFC
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will become the Student Aid Index (SAI). And, unlike the EFC which only went as low as $0, the SAI can be as low as -$1,500. Students with an SAI of -$1,500 to $0 SAI will be eligible for the maximum Federal Pell Grant, but the differing SAIs will help financial aid offices distinguish among students when determining eligibility for other types of aid
2. New Pell Grant Eligibility Criteria
Federal Pell Grant eligibility will be determined in two ways. New criteria have been added to determine eligibility based on multiples of the poverty line. For example, a dependent student who has a single parent with an adjusted gross income (AGI) less than or equal to 225% of the poverty line, will be eligible for a maximum Pell Grant. For those that don’t meet the poverty line criteria, Pell eligibility will be based on the SAI, in the same way that eligibility is currently based on the EFC.
3. Parent Responsibility for Filing the FAFSA
Currently, if a dependent student’s parents are divorced or separated, the parent the student lived the most during the 12 months before filing the FAFSA is responsible for completing the FAFSA. Starting with the 2023-2024 FAFSA, the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support will be responsible for completing the FAFSA. In the case where both parents provide equal financial support, the parent with greater income is responsible for completing the FAFSA.
4. Treatment of Multiple Students in College
Under the current formula, when a family has multiple children in college at the same time, the parent EFC is divided by the number of children enrolled at least half-time in college. Although the FAFSA will still collect information about the number of family members in college, the parent SAI (the renamed EFC) will not be divided by the number of family members in college. This change will have little impact on families with lower incomes whose SAI is low, but will have more impact on middle to upper income families.
5. Fewer Questions
Several questions are being removed from the FAFSA, including the Selective Service and drug conviction questions. The Selective Service question is being removed as male students will no longer be required to register with the Selective Service in order to maintain eligibility for federal student aid. Additionally, the drug conviction question is being removed as the suspension of federal aid eligibility due to certain drug-related conviction is being eliminated. Both of these changes must be implemented by July 1, 2023, and may be implemented earlier by the U.S. Department of Education.
These are just a few of the many changes included in the FAFSA Simplification Act. There are also changes to the untaxed income and benefits that have to be counted, increases to the income protection allowance that shelters a portion of income to cover living expenses, updates to excluded assets, and more! To learn more about all of these changes, join us for this month’s Wednesday Webinar by registering below.
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FAFSA Simplification is Coming!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021
New Time: 1:00–2:00 p.m.

Changes are on the way! As you may have heard, substantial changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the release of the 2023-2024 FAFSA, which will became available on October 1, 2022. The EFC is going away and the process to determine Pell Grant eligibility will be revised. The FAFSA will become simpler, with the removal of various questions. Most of the changes are very positive, but there are a few that may cause concern, especially for middle and upper income families with multiple children in college at the same time. Join us as we dive into the details of the changes so that we can all start planning for these changes now.
For additional helpful information and resources, find previous issues of 5 on the 5th on our website.

FAME's College Access and Financial Education Team:

Mary Dyer, Financial Education Officer
Maria MacDougal, College Access Counselor
Floreka Malual, College Planning Advisor
Nikki Vachon, College Access Counselor
Jessica Whittier, College Access Counselor
Mila Tappan, College Access and Outreach Manager
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