FAFSA Simplification Act
In 2020 Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act to streamline and make the financial aid process easier overall for students and families. The number of questions on the FAFSA is being nearly cut in half, terminology is being simplified. With these changes Congress is aiming to increase the Federal Pell Grant eligibility for many, however some may see a reduction in their Federal Pell Grant. Below you will find some detailed information regarding the FAFSA changes.
When will the 2024-2025 FAFSA be available?
While the FAFSA has typically become available beginning October 1 of each year, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not open until sometime in December 2023. The exact date has not yet been announced, but will be posted here once available.
Please keep in mind that Rider University’s priority deadline will remain February 1.
What is changing for the 2024-2025 FAFSA?
- Onboarding process - Once you are signed into your FSA ID and begin the 2024-2025 FAFSA there is a video that will give you an overview of the new FAFSA
- Number of questions - The number of questions is going from 108 to a maximum for most students to 46.
- Change in terminology - No longer using the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), but a Student Aid Index (SAI). See more about SAI in the FAQ below.
- Every student will also need to add their contributors to the FAFSA (as a dependent this will be your parents and as an independent student it may be a spouse). See more about contributors in the FAQ below.
- The SAI will no longer consider the number of students in college to determine eligibility, however eligibility will be based on family size and the federal poverty level.
- Parent on the FAFSA - If your parents are divorced or separated, the parent on the FAFSA may change. See more about who to report as a parent in the FAQ below.
- Parent does not have a social security number - If your parent does not have a Social Security number they will now be able to create an FSA ID. This will speed up the process and no longer require a paper copy of the FAFSA to be printed, signed and mailed to the Department of Education.
- No need to go through dependency override process every year if no change in circumstances
How can I prepare for the 2024-2025 FAFSA before it comes out?
Prior to completing the FAFSA the student will need to set up an FSA ID and it is best to have your parent/guardian or spouse sign up for an FSA ID at the same time (if you already have an FSA ID a new one is not needed). While completing the FAFSA the student will list who their parent(s)/guardian(s) or their spouse are on the FAFSA as contributors. Adding these individuals to the FAFSA will make them a contributor and they will be sent an email with a request to complete their portion of the FAFSA and give their consent to have their information included on the FAFSA.
FAFSA Information Sessions for Incoming Students
The university is planning to host FAFSA Workshop & Affordability Information Sessions this fall for students applying to the university. The zoom information sessions will be held Thursday, November 16 and Thursday, December 14 at 7pm. You may sign up for these sessions here.
If you are a returning or an incoming student and have any further questions after reading through this information and completing the FAFSA onboarding process please feel free to contact the One Stop Office via email at [email protected], phone at (609)896-5360 or via zoom (Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm and Friday 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 3pm).
We will continue to provide updates regarding the FAFSA Simplification Act and appreciate your patience while we all work through this updated process together.
Frequently asked questions
When the student starts the FAFSA using their FSA ID they will be instructed to add their parent(s) as contributors if they are a dependent student and potentially a spouse if an independent student is married. If a parent decides to start the FAFSA using their FSA ID they will be instructed to add the student as a contributor. Once added the contributors must provide the required information and consent(sign) their portion of the FAFSA for the form to be considered complete.
If you are unsure who to report as your parent on the FAFSA please review this questionnaire. While completing the FAFSA the student will also be walked through the following questionnaire to help determine which parent(s) to report on the FAFSA. If you are still unsure after reading through this and starting your FAFSA please contact the One Stop Office:
- Are your parents married? If yes, provide information about both parents. If no, go on to the next question.
- Do your parents live together? If yes, provide information about both parents. If no, go on to the next question.
- Did one parent provide more financial support than the other over the last 12 months? If yes, provide information about the parent who provided the most financial support over the past 12 months, and if the parent has remarried, give information about the stepparent as well. If no, provide information about the parent who has greater income and assets, and if the parent has remarried, give information about the stepparent as well.
Sometimes, special circumstances not reflected on your FAFSA can affect your ability to pay for your education. In these situations, federal regulations allow financial aid administrators to use professional judgment on a case by case basis, with documentation, to adjust the data elements on your FAFSA that may impact your Student Aid Index. If you believe you have a qualifying special circumstance please contact the One Stop Office after completing your FAFSA.
An SAI is the Student Aid Index which is replacing the use of the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA. The SAI is an eligibility index that the university uses to determine how much federal student aid the student would receive if the student attends the school based on the information provided on the FAFSA.
If your parent(s) are not willing to provide their information on the FAFSA or assist with financing your education it does not mean that you will automatically qualify as an independent student. If you are deemed a dependent student and do not provide your parent(s) information on the FAFSA you may only be eligible to receive a Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan. For more information on determining if you are a dependent student or an independent student please refer to the Department of Education website.
At this time a release date has not yet been announced by the Department of Education, but we will continue to monitor and update this page once determined.
Before any student can be sent a College Financing Plan (CFP) or financial aid eligibility can be determined the student must be admitted into the university and have completed a FAFSA. Any student who applied and was admitted via early action your CFP will be prioritized.