Leave it to Congress, the Administration, and the U.S. Department of Education to once again introduce changes to the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).
Note: as we go to press, the DOE has not issued final regulations and guidance, so here is what we know today.

  • Switch in Terminology – moving from the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Student Aid Index (SAI). Methodologies are changing, and to the student’s (family) advantage, the result will be a calculation used by all providers to determine need-based aid.
  • Who Files the Application – today, the parent(s) with whom the student lives 51% complete and file the FAFSA. Beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year (as of October 1, 2022), the parent(s) who claims the student as an exemption on their IRS Tax Return will be (new) required to complete the application. There will be no change for two-parent households; however, the change will have significant implications for divorced and separated families.
  • Elimination of the Multiple Children – families with multiple students in college have received a break in their contribution. This provision ends with the 2023-2024 application. However, schools will be allowed to use their discretion to assist families.
  • Untaxed Income – many areas have been redefined or excluded, including cash support and money paid on behalf of a student—the all-important help from grandparents and relatives.
    • Note: Schools that require the CSS Profile will still be looking for this information.
  • Income Protection Allowance – although the multiple children provision is gone, the percentage used to calculate adjustments to income has increased.

The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) opens live for the 2023-2024 academic year on October 1, 2022. All students and families interested in applying for need-based financial aid awarded by colleges, universities, the federal, state, and even some private scholarship organizations should apply.

Keep in mind that the greatest factor in the determination of a student/family’s eligibility for need-based aid is income. For the 2023-2024 FAFSA the income reported will come from the 2021 IRS Tax Return. Real-time assets and savings play a role, but significantly less. The second is the school!