Changes to 2024-25 FAFSA

FAFSA Simplification update

As the Department of Education finalizes the FAFSA Simplification Act, Wake Tech will promptly communicate any changes to the awarding process and the expected impacts on our students and families once details are confirmed. Keep an eye on your Wake Tech email and visit the student portal regularly for updates.

The Department of Education recently announced that FAFSA information will be shared with schools beginning the middle of March 2024. Colleges cannot confirm receipt of the 2024-25 FAFSA until they have received the applications from the Department of Education. Also, students are unable to make corrections to their FAFSA application until it has been processed by the Department of Education. Upon processing, students will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) summarizing the provided information. It is crucial to review the FSS to ensure all information is accurate and complete, and any necessary corrections should be submitted promptly.

The FAFSA Simplification Act, enacted by Congress in 2020, marks a substantial overhaul of federal student aid. This transformation encompasses alterations to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the need analysis that determines eligibility for federal aid, as well as adjustments in terminology.

The effort, which takes effect with the 2024-25 aid year, is designed to streamline the application process, reduce questions and barriers and expand eligibility.

  • The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI) to determine eligibility. The SAI is an evaluation of the financial resources that may be available to contribute toward a student's education expenses. It implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Pell Grants.
  • SAI will no longer consider the number of students in college within the family.
  • IRS tax information will be directly imported into the FAFSA.
  • Students will be able to list up to 20 colleges and universities on the FAFSA.
  • Each Contributor – student, spouse, parent(s) and/or stepparent(s) – will have to provide consent to complete the FAFSA. If any contributor does not consent, the SAI will not be calculated, and eligibility for financial aid cannot be determined. Individuals who are Contributors to your FAFSA are not agreeing to accept financial responsibility for your education.
  • Parents without a Social Security number will be able to apply for an FSA ID. This will speed up the FAFSA processing time, as they will be able to submit the form online rather than having to print, sign and mail it.
  • For students whose parents are separated or divorced, the guidance on which parent income to report has changed to the parent who provides the most financial support for the student rather than the parent the student lived with the most.
  • Students who are considered independent due to homelessness or qualifying dependency override no longer need to recertify their dependency status each year unless their situation changes.
  • The definition of family size now aligns with the number of individuals reported as dependents on the applicant's (if independent) or applicant's parents' (if dependent) federal tax return. Applicants may also update their family size if it changes after filing their tax return.
  • When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm.

Updated terminology

Contributor – Contributor refers to anyone asked to provide information on a student's FAFSA, including the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adopted parent and the parent's spouse. Individuals who are Contributors to your FAFSA are not agreeing to accept financial responsibility for your education.

FAFSA Privacy Act consent – Formal consent provided by an applicant and any applicable contributor(s) for a given FAFSA cycle (e.g., December 2023 to September 2025 for the 2024–25 FAFSA form) that meets the statutory requirements of collecting and using an individual's personally identifiable information.

FAFSA Submission Summary – Replaces the Student Aid Report as the student's output document providing a summary of data input on the FAFSA.

Family size – Replaces the term "household size" on the FAFSA.

Federal tax information – The data and information related to paying federal taxes. It includes a return or return information received directly from the IRS or obtained through an authorized secondary source, such as the U.S. Department of Education.

Student Aid Index (SAI) – Replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a formal evaluation of a student's approximate financial resources to contribute toward their post-secondary education for a specific award year.

Pell Grant impact

Federal Pell Grant eligibility will be determined in three steps:

  1. Maximum Pell Grant – Applicants may qualify for a maximum Pell Grant award based on family size, household income and poverty guidelines. Students qualifying for a maximum Pell Grant will have an SAI between -1500 and 0.
  2. SAI – Applicants who do not qualify for a maximum award may still qualify for a Pell Grant if their calculated SAI is less than the maximum award for the award year. The applicant's Pell Grant award for full-time enrollment will be equal to the maximum for the award year minus the SAI. The grant will be adjusted if the applicant enrolls less than full time or if the applicant's cost of attendance is less than the calculated Pell Grant award.
  3. Minimum Pell Grant – Applicants whose SAI is greater than the maximum award for the award year may still qualify for a Pell Grant, based on family size, household income and poverty guidelines.

What hasn't changed with FAFSA

The FAFSA process remains the same for the following:

  • Applicants provide income, assets and family information on the FAFSA.
  • The number of family members in college is still a question on the form but will not be used in the SAI or Pell Grant eligibility calculations.
  • The need analysis formula is unchanged: Cost of Attendance - Student Aid Index - Other Financial Assistance = Financial Need.
  • An applicant's SAI is determined by one of three formulas: dependent students, independent students without dependents other than a spouse and independent students with dependents other than a spouse.

Resources

Frequently asked questions

An FSA ID is a username and password that students and contributors use to access federal student aid websites.

Students and contributors must create an FSA ID if they are doing any of the following:

  • Filling out the FAFSA
  • Signing the Master Promissory Note
  • Applying for repayment plans
  • Completing loan counseling
  • Using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool

To create an FSA ID, go to StudentAid.gov and click "Create Account." You will need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number

You will also create a memorable username and password and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget.

To create an FSA ID for a parent or spouse contributor without a Social Security number, follow the instructions linked in the Resources section above.


You can create an FSA ID at any time. It is recommended that you create it a week or two before you start filling out the FAFSA to give you time to verify your FSA ID and make sure that it is working properly.

Yes. Each contributor must have a unique phone number or email address for the multi-factor authentication used to access the system.

This depends on the family situation. For example, if a student has married parent(s)/stepparent filing taxes separately, both parent(s)/stepparent will need an FSA ID.

A contributor is anyone required to provide consent and approval for obtaining federal tax information needed to complete a student's FAFSA. It may include any or all of the following:

  • Student
  • Student's spouse
  • Biological or adopted parent
  • Parent's spouse (stepparent)

Being a contributor does not implicate financial responsibility. However, if a required contributor refuses to provide information, it will result in an incomplete FAFSA, and the student will become ineligible for federal student aid.

The FUTURE Act requires all contributors on the FAFSA to provide consent to share their tax information with the IRS. This consent is necessary for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS and to use that information in the federal student aid application process.


If you, as a student, or a spouse or parent/stepparent do not provide consent on the FAFSA, you will not be eligible for any federal student aid.

Yes. Every contributor needs to provide consent on the FAFSA so the IRS can confirm to Federal Student Aid that you, your parent(s) or spouse did not file taxes.

Yes, but you still need to provide consent. We recommend you allow FAFSA to provide your income from IRS taxes. If your situation has changed from the required tax year, please contact the Financial Aid Office.