The FAFSA is Changing
The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will not be available by the traditional date of October 1, but there are several ways students and families can plan for college costs and be ready to apply for federal financial aid when the new application is available.
UMW has also extended our priority deadline for financial aid to March 1, 2024, to allow extra time for families to complete the FAFSA.
Students should still note the filing dates of November 15 and February 1 for their application to Mary Washington. UMW automatically considers all applicants for scholarships, so you don’t want to miss out on one of these dates for your application. Plus, students who apply and complete an interview with admissions by February 1 are also consider for up to $2,000 in a Taking Flight Scholarship.
Why is the FAFSA changing?
Congress recently passed the FAFSA Simplification Act to streamline the financial aid process for students and families.
- The form will have fewer questions and a simplified process.
- The Federal Pell Grant will expand to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). While the EFC estimated what a family might have to pay, the SAI focuses on the amount of financial help a student might qualify for.
What do I need to know about these changes?
You are likely to see a change in your financial aid eligibility depending on your family’s circumstances. A few factors that might have the biggest impact in the new calculation for SAI are:
- The SAI will not include the number of family members in college. If you have siblings in college at the same time, your SAI may be larger than your EFC had been. This difference may reduce need-based aid eligibility for current students with siblings in college.
- The guidance on which parent income to report for students whose parents are separated or divorced has changed to the parent who provides the most financial support to the student, rather than the parent who lives at the student’s primary residence.
- Family farms and small businesses are now included, and you’ll need to report the value as part of the application. This inclusion can also impact the SAI.
When will the 2024-25 FAFSA become available?
As the FAFSA application and processing system is being rebuilt, it’s delayed the opening date to sometime in December 2023. Look for the simplified application in the new calendar year 2024.
The 2023-24 FAFSA is available now if you are enrolling at UMW in fall 2023 or spring 2024.
How will my aid be determined with the simplified FAFSA?
Schools will use the SAI to determine eligibility for federal financial aid programs. The University of Mary Washington will also use the SAI to determine financial need for need-based institutional funding.
If I receive a Pell Grant, will my eligibility be affected?
Students who receive the maximum Pell Grant are not expected to see any changes. The Federal Pell Grant will expand to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
What do I need to have ready for the new FAFSA?
You will need a Federal Student Aid ID, made up of a user name and password, to complete the form. If you don’t already have an ID, creating one now can save time when the new form comes out. Apply for the ID online. You will need your Social Security number, full name and date of birth.
You can also research schools and use the net price calculators to determine what you can afford, even before completing the FAFSA. Understand your costs and comfort levels going into the application process. Many public state schools, such as UMW, offer affordable options even before filing the FAFSA.
How do I add UMW to my list for the new FAFSA?
UMW’s FAFSA code is still 003746. With the simplified FAFSA you can now list up to 20 schools, instead of 10. Please add the University of Mary Washington to your list.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact us if you have questions about completing FAFSA or maximizing your financial aid options at the University of Mary Washington.
Learn more about the FAFSA changes.
We’ll share more information as it becomes available and answer questions on the UMW Financial Aid website.