The Better FAFSA will be released in December 2023, with an official date to be announced from Federal Student Aid. By statute, it must be released by January 1, 2024. With these changes, many questions have surfaced for students, parents, and practitioners.
In an effort to provide a broad overview of the new FAFSA, FCAN hosted a webinar on September 26 to provide an update on what’s to come. Certain details remain to be released but below is a list of major changes we know at this point in time.
FSA ID Requirements
An FSA ID to log in, access, and file the FAFSA form will be required for everyone. Bill DeBaun, Senior Director of Data and Strategic Initiatives at National College Attainment Network (NCAN), encouraged individuals to log in and create their FSA ID, as this is something that can be done now and it is not contingent on the Better FAFSA release. “It’s a piece we can start working on now for students, parents, and guardians that will contribute to the FAFSA form,” said DeBaun.
For undocumented contributors, there will be “knowledge-based questions” to verify identity. However, there is still information to be released on what these questions and what this process will look like.
EFC to SAI
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is becoming the Student Aid Index (SAI). More students will now be eligible for aid under the SAI, compared to the EFC metric. Additionally, the Student Aid Report (SAR) is now called the FAFSA Submission Summary.
IRS Consent and Assets Reported
IRS consent is required. DeBaun clarified that this is required regardless of whether an individual files federal taxes. “FSA is now required to pull in as much information as possible to populate the FAFSA…even if you’re a non-filer, if you don’t have a social security number, if you’re a foreign tax filer. If you do not provide that consent, you will not be eligible for federal student aid.”
Small businesses and family farms will be reported as assets, as well as child support received.
Pell Grant Eligibility
There are two ways to determine Pell Grant eligibility – either the federal poverty tables or the SAI. Kylie Gross, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at University of Tampa, reviewed a flow chart, included in the presentation linked below, that illustrated the logic used to determine Pell Grant eligibility for a student.
Changes to Calculations
There will be changes on family size calculations. “Previously, the students would report that information based on the individuals in the household. The change is going to be based on the individuals that are on the federal income tax forms,” shared Dameion Lovett, Program Director at the Office of Financial Aid at University of South Florida and 23-24 President of Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (FASFAA).
Gross explained that ‘multiple kids in college’ is no longer a consideration. “The EFC used to be divided by the number of kids in college. This may be a big change for families who have a kid in college already and will be adding another one with the 24-25 year.”
Gross also elaborated on a new term: provisional independent status. “Starting with the 24-25 year, these students who mark that they are unable to provide parent information will be marked as provisionally independent. Unlike in previous years, they will get a student aid index calculation, they will get a Pell Grant estimate if they are eligible, and their FAFSA will be sent to the school.”
To find out more on the Better FAFSA or access the recording and download the presentation – take advantage of these resources:
- Bill DeBaun, Senior Director of Data and Strategic Initiatives, NCAN
- Dameion Lovett, Program Director, Office of Financial Aid, USF & 23-24 FASFAA President
- Kylie Gross, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, UT