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FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA Simplification Act is the U.S. Department of Education’s overhaul of the federal student aid process. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), need analysis, and many other policies and procedures are affected by this policy change.

Many changes have already gone into effect and more will continue in preparation for the 2024-2025 FAFSA. See below for some common questions and helpful resources as you navigate the new policies. Please note that information is subject to change if we receive new information from the Department of Education.

Looking for information about the 2023-2024 FAFSA? Head to our Preparing for the FAFSA and Completing the FAFSA webpages.

Preparing for the FAFSA

The benefits of FAFSA Simplification include:

  • A more streamlined application process.
  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).
  • Better user experience.

Significant changes to the FAFSA process include changes to the form itself, the way students and families will provide tax data, and the calculation used to determine aid eligibility.

  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • All students and other contributors must consent to have their information transferred from the IRS.
  • All students and other contributors, including those without a Social Security number, can fill out the form.
  • The net worth of a family business or farm, excluding the value of the primary residence, will now be reported with assets.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a number, calculated based on information provided on the FAFSA, that the financial aid office (the WVU Hub) uses to determine how much federal student aid the student may receive. The EFC served a similar purpose in previous years, but unlike the EFC, the SAI will remove certain components of a student’s circumstances from consideration, and will also allow for a lower minimum dollar figure to give financial aid administrators more insight when reviewing students with particularly challenging circumstances.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will use 2022 tax information from you and your contributors to determine your eligibility for federal and some state aid. Be sure to have this information complete and accessible before you begin the FAFSA process.

Additionally, you and your contributors will each need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA. You can create an FSA ID at any time, and if you already have one from a previous FAFSA, you must use that same one.

For additional information, visit our Preparing for the FAFSA webpage.

A contributor is anyone — the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or a parent’s spouse (such as a stepparent)— who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA. If the student’s parents are divorced, separated, or not married and not living together, the parent who provided more than 50% of financial support for the student in the past 12 months is considered the contributor. The Department of Education will be releasing a tool to help students determine who should be a contributor on their FAFSA.

Contributors should create an FSA ID as soon as possible to prepare for the December FAFSA launch.

All contributors must consent to an IRS information transfer regardless of whether they filed 2022 taxes in the United States. If consent is not provided by all contributors, the FAFSA will be invalid. If your information is not available for the IRS to transfer, you will be able to add it manually.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA requires 2022 tax information. If the information provided on your FAFSA no longer accurately reflects your or your family’s financial situation, you may be able to submit an SAI appeal.

Federal student aid eligibility changes include:

  • Applicant eligibility will be determined by a new methodology. The EFC will be replaced with the SAI.
  • The new need analysis formula allows for a lower SAI calculation to give financial aid administrators more insight when reviewing students with particularly challenging circumstances.
  • Federal Pell Grant access will be expanded which should allow more students and families from low-income backgrounds to qualify.
  • Selective Service and drug conviction questions will be eliminated to reduce applicant barriers.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now available! Due to 2024-2025 updates, Federal Student Aid has initiated the release of the FAFSA via a soft launch. Students might encounter intermittent outages while improvements are made. Visit our Preparing for the FAFSA webpage for information on steps you and your contributors should take to be ready to complete your 2024-2025 FAFSA application.

To help alleviate some student and parent stress due to the delayed FAFSA timeline as well as the current inability to make corrections, we are removing the priority FAFSA submission deadline requirement for the 2024-2025 aid year. However, please be aware:

  • Some aid is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible students. Once financial aid offers begin and those funds run out, we can no longer award. This applies to the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS).
  • It's still in students' best interest to submit their FAFSAs as early as possible to have their aid ready for the fall semester.
  • The June 1 deadline for institutional scholarships is still in place.
  • This change is only for the 2024-2025 aid year. For 2025-2026, the priority submission deadline will revert back to March 1, 2025.

For West Virginia residents:

For students who are having difficulty completing the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Gov. Justice has declared a FAFSA State of Emergency for West Virginia. The requirement to submit a 2024-2025 FAFSA for WV residents to be reviewed for the WV Higher Education Grant and Promise Scholarship has been suspended for the 2024-2025 academic year.

This state of emergency is only applicable for some West Virginia state-funded aid. We encourage the completion of the 2024-25 FAFSA to determine if the student is eligible for federal aid, such as the Pell Grant.

After Submitting the FAFSA

First-time freshmen started receiving scholarship only offers in December 2023.

The Department of Education has started releasing FAFSA data to institutions in small batches. You may see the status of your FAFSA change on the Federal Student Aid website. Some statuses may require you to take additional action. Due to the process by which the Department of Education is releasing FAFSA data, a “processed” status does not mean that schools have received your information.

Now that we are receiving FAFSA data, institutions can begin implementing and testing new aid evaluation processes and policies. Students should begin monitoring their MIX email in mid-April for emails from the WVU Hub regarding financial aid next steps. We are hopeful that financial aid offers may begin by mid-May for first-time freshmen and late May for continuing students.

The FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) is replacing the Student Aid Report (SAR) from previous versions of the FAFSA. Students who have already completed their 2024-2025 FAFSA and would like to access their Submission Summary may use the instructions found on the Learn About the FAFSA Submission Summary webpage.

Students who would like to access their 2023-2024 SAR may refer to the information on the SAR: Student Aid Report webpage.

The Department of Education has begun processing 2024-2025 FAFSA applications. Students may check the status of their 2024–2025 FAFSA on the Federal Student Aid website:

  1. Log in using your FSA ID (username and password).
  2. Accept terms and conditions if prompted to do so.
  3. Select "2024-25 FAFSA Form" from the "My Activity" page. The application status will be one of the following:
  • Draft: The student section of the FAFSA is incomplete.
  • In Progress: You provided your consent, approval, and signature to the student section of the FAFSA, but the application has not been submitted to the Department of Education yet.
  • In Review: Your application is submitted and still processing.
  • Processed: Your application was processed successfully. No further action is needed.
  • Action Required: Your application requires further action from you or your contributor(s). In some cases, you may need to work with the WVU Hub to resolve the issue. Once we receive your FAFSA information, the WVU Hub will notify you via your MIX email of next steps. These emails should begin by late April. Please see “How do I update or make corrections to my 2024-2025 FAFSA” for additional information.
  • Closed: Your FAFSA was never submitted and can no longer be submitted because the federal submission deadline passed.

Your FAFSA Submission Summary will list the exact errors that need to be corrected. If you or your contributors need to make updates, provide consent, or sign your FAFSA, you must do so through the Federal Student Aid website. For step-by-step instructions, visit the How to Correct or Update Your FAFSA Form webpage.

Check Your 2024-2025 FAFSA for Missing Family Size

The Department of Education identified an error that will not reflect on the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS). The 2024-2025 FAFSA did not properly collect the family size during the tax transfer process and requires manual update (done by a parent contributor if a dependent student or by the student if independent). The parent or independent student should navigate to their financial section and select 'Yes' to the question "Has your family size changed since you last filed your taxes?" and then manually enter the family size number. Once the parent or independent student has made this change, they should sign and submit the correction.

WV resident students who are eligible for the WV Emergency Grant Program will have to meet specific eligibility criteria. At this time, we do not have a timeline for when this grant will be available. Students will automatically be considered based on the eligibility criteria listed on our WV Emergency Grant Program webpage and will be notified via their MIX email if they are offered this grant. No additional application is required.

Please regularly check our WV Emergency Grant Program webpage as more information becomes available.

Related Resources

Additional information from Federal Student Aid is also available in the video playlist below.

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