Nov 10, 2023 Jodi Anderson

THE NEW FAFSA IS READY: What You Need to Know

Federal Student Aid has announced that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®️) is once again available to apply for financial aid for the 2024-2025 academic year.

FAFSA can be completed at  If you would like assistance completing the FAFSA form, schedule a free appointment with RISLA's College Planning Center.

What's New & Different?

In simplest terms, The FAFSA Simplification Act, effective for the 2024-2025 academic year, was introduced to streamline the application process, provide expanded eligibility for federal aid and Pell Grants, and provide a better user experience when completing the FAFSA form. Some highlights below:

*Replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) With the Student Aid Index (SAI)
Starting with the 2024–25 award year, students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college, and they’ll experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid. The new need analysis formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, allows a minimum SAI of -1500, and implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.

*Modifications to Family Definitions in FAFSA® Formulas
Expect changes in how a student’s family size is determined, aligning more with what was reported on the student/parents' tax returns. 
*Expanding Access to Federal Pell Grants
The FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level (starting with the 2024–25 award year).

*Streamlining the FAFSA® Form
Where possible, the law mandates that we use data received directly from the IRS to calculate Federal Pell Grant eligibility and the SAI.  The FAFSA Simplification Act also removes questions about Selective Service registration and drug convictions. It also adds questions about applicants’ sex, race, and ethnicity, which have no effect on federal student aid eligibility (starting with the 2023–24 award year). 

More good news: The new form has been reduced to fewer than 40 questions versus the previous 100-plus questions.  

An FSA ID is Still Required!

The FSA ID is a username and password used to complete and sign the FAFSA. It’s also your account with the U.S. Department of Education and is used to complete online tasks like signing federal student loan documents.  To create an  FSA ID, visit Select "Get Started" to create your account.

Estimate Your SAI

Get a preview of the new SAI.  RISLA provides a calculator to estimate the new FAFSA Student Aid Index calculation for students and families to get an early look.  Remember, based on the new SAI range, the new calculation can result in a negative SAI of up to $1,500.  Do not perceive a negative value as an error!

RISLA’s SAI Calculator can be found at

Help is Available

You don't need to worry about being overwhelmed by the FAFSA. RISLA's College Planning Center has been helping families complete FAFSA and other financial aid forms for over 25 years. Money for college starts with FAFSA and can provide you with eligibility for Federal Aid, Grants, and Work Study.  Please schedule an appointment with us today! And Tell your Friends too!



Published by Jodi Anderson November 10, 2023