Important updates you need to know
Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 aid year.
While the new application will be streamlined and easier to complete, it will also bring significant changes to the calculation of federal Pell Grant awards and include changes to some financial aid terminology.
As more news about the updated FAFSA becomes available, The Financial Aid Office will update this page so that UMW students, families, and our campus community remain ready for the new process.
Visit the Federal Student Aid Website and watch the video for more information.
Why is the FAFSA changing?
From the U.S. Department of Education:
“On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions that amend the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act and includes the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and expands access to federal student aid.”
There will be new terms used on the FAFSA
Any individual required to provide consent and approval for Federal Tax Information (FTI) along with their signature on the FAFSA® form, including the student; the student’s spouse; a biological or adoptive parent; or the parent’s spouse (stepparent).
A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
Contributors will receive an email informing them that they’ve been identified as such, and will need to log in, using their own FSA ID, to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.
Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.
Direct Data Exchange (DDX)
System used to transfer individuals tax information to determine federal aid eligibility (replaces what used to be the IRS data retrieval tool DRT).
Student Aid Index (SAI)
A calculation based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that allows us to determine how much need-based financial aid you are eligible for. It provides schools with a picture of your family’s financial strength. Replaced what used to be known as Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
FAFSA Submission Summary
Summary document provided when after completing FAFSA application (replaces what used to be known as the student aid report (SAR)).
Federal Tax Information (FTI)
Federal tax information (FTI) is data provided directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with your (or in some instances, your spouse’s) approval for use on an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan Request. You can provide and manage your consent in your StudentAid.gov account.
How can I prepare for this change?
Have your 2022 tax documents ready to go come December! Filling out the FAFSA can be a great winter break activity. It will be important to note that each contributor can complete only their part of the FAFSA (student or parent). The second contributor will receive an email to login and complete their part once the first contributor is finished and invites them.
FSA ID, which serves as a digital signature to complete the FAFSA and sign electronically. Parents wishing to sign electronically will also need an FSA ID. If a parent is not eligible to receive an FSA ID, they can print and sign the signature page.
A new process is being created for parents without a Social Security Number (SSN) to obtain an FSA ID by the Department of Education. The process has not been finalized yet but we will update this page when it becomes available.
The FSA ID will be used for future years. Be sure to keep track of your information.
When the FAFSA becomes available in December complete it as soon as possible. It may be a good activity to complete while on the winter break.
For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.
What is not Changing?
These federal aid requirements, rights, and responsibilities have not changed or had minor updates:
- The FAFSA remains required annually for federal aid consideration and is available to U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens.
- Dependency status questions to determine if your parents must provide their information remain the same.
- FAFSA will still request prior-prior year tax information (e.g., for the 2024-2025 FAFSA you will use 2022 tax information). Families that had a significant reduction in income due to extenuating circumstances can still request special circumstances review.
- Federal Education Loan requirements remain the same.
The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.
The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI
- Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the Student Aid Index. However, the FAFSA formula now allows for more income protection.
Some students will be automatically eligible for a Pell Grant
- Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.
The value of Family Farms and Small Businesses must be reported as assets
- Families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.
NOTE: 2024-25 FAFSA CHANGES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. INFORMATION ON THIS WEBPAGE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS NEW INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.