FAFSA Simplification Act

The FAFSA Simplification Act actually does simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. For most people, it will go from more than 100 questions down to 36. As anyone who has filled out a FAFSA knows, this is very good news. 

NEW FAFSA with Direct Data 

There's a new system that allows the FAFSA to pull information directly from your income tax return. You don’t have to go hunting for your past returns anymore. You just need to give your consent for the transfer of data.

Student Aid Index (SAI)

Changes to your family contribution

A major goal of the FAFSA Simplification Act is to make the amount of aid your student is eligible for more transparent and predictable. In the past, the FAFSA determined aid using the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). It was a complicated process even for financial aid specialists. Families often had no idea how much they could receive until they got their financial aid offer from the college.

The new Student Aid Index (SAI) is streamlined and better defined. Under certain circumstances, low-income students can be eligible for need-based aid using only the family’s adjusted gross income taken from their income tax return. The new SAI streamlines procedures for students with more complicated income sources as well.

Changes to Pell Grants

Pell Grants will now be calculated using the SAI or under certain circumstances, your gross Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your tax return. This should simplify eligibility.

The SAI and AGI levels for aid have also been adjusted and should result in more students qualifying for more Pell Grant money. Since the new form is shorter and simpler, there’s no excuse not to apply. In fact, it’s always best to file your FAFSA each year whether you think you qualify or not.

Changes for special or unusual circumstances

Under the new simplified FAFSA, financial aid administrators at colleges must let families know that students who apply for aid can pursue adjustments based on their family and financial circumstances. More information can be found on our Special Circumstances page.