We understand that pursuing higher education can be a significant financial commitment, and we’re here to help you navigate the process. One essential tool in securing financial assistance is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Let’s explore what FAFSA is and how it can benefit you.
What is FAFSA? FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that students in the United States complete to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid programs. These programs include grants, work-study opportunities, and low-interest loans provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
Key Benefits of FAFSA
- Access to Federal Aid: FAFSA is the gateway to various federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal Work-Study.
- State and Institutional Aid: In addition to federal aid, many states and universities use FAFSA information to award state and institutional financial aid. By completing the FAFSA, you may qualify for additional grants or scholarships specific to your state or university.
- Low-Interest Loans: FAFSA helps determine your eligibility for federal student loans with favorable terms and low-interest rates. These loans can be crucial in covering educational expenses and are often more affordable than private loans.
- Understanding Your Financial Need: FAFSA calculates your Student Aid Index (SAI), which is used to determine your financial need. This information is crucial for universities to create comprehensive financial aid packages tailored to your situation.
How to Complete FAFSA
- Create an FSA ID: Before starting the FAFSA, both the student and one parent must create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This ID serves as your electronic signature and provides access to federal financial aid websites.
- Gather Necessary Documents: Have your Social Security number, driver’s license, federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and other relevant financial documents on hand.
- Complete the FAFSA Online: Visit the official FAFSA website to complete the application online. The form is available on December 31, and it’s important to submit it as early as possible to maximize your eligibility for aid.
- Review and Submit: Carefully review your FAFSA for accuracy before submitting it. Once submitted, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes the information you provided and includes your SAI.
Completing the form is a crucial step in securing the financial support needed to pursue your educational goals. We encourage you to explore the opportunities it opens up for federal, state, and institutional aid. At North Greenville University, we are committed to assisting you in the financial aid process and helping make your educational aspirations a reality. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Financial Aid at NGU.
2024-25 FAFSA Changes
How the FAFSA Simplification Act Impacts You.
The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and overhauls the process of awarding federal student aid. It streamlines the form, which is the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility. It also changes some terminology and revises policies and procedures for participating schools.
The benefits of the FAFSA Simplification Act include a more streamlined application process and a better user experience, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations.
What’s changing in 2024-25?
The FAFSA opened later. It was made available on December 30, 2023.
Colleges and universities will not receive FAFSA results until March.
Students and families will receive some federal aid information from the Department of Education once the FAFSA is completed. Colleges and universities will not receive results from the completed FAFSA until sometime in March. North Greenville will develop a financial aid offer once the FAFSA results have been received and the student has been admitted by the Office of Admissions. We encourage students to review aid offers from each institution they are exploring as part of this major decision. The North Greenville team is ready to assist if you have any questions once you receive your aid offer.
The FAFSA form will be shorter and more user-friendly.
The 2024-25 FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. Many students will not be presented with all 46 questions.
The FAFSA form will be available in more languages.
The 2024-25 FAFSA will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.
Applicants will be required to use the IRS direct data exchange.
Previously, FAFSA filers had the option to enter tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. For 2024-25, all contributors on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS.
All contributors must provide financial information.
- A contributor — a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA — refers to anyone who is required to provide information on the FAFSA. A student or parent’s answers on the FAFSA determine which contributors will need to provide information.
- Contributors receive an email informing them that they have 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.
- A FAFSA contributor is not necessarily financially responsible for the student’s education but must provide information to complete the application or the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.
The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
A notable terminology update for the 2024-25 FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility. Unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number as low as -1500. To explore how much federal aid, you may be eligible for, try the Federal Student Aid Estimator.
The number of household members attending college will not be used to calculate SAI.
Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionally to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning in 2024-25, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but the answer will not be calculated into the SAI. Therefore, undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their financial aid eligibility.
The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA form in cases of divorce or separation has changed.
For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. On the 2024-25 FAFSA, financial information will instead be required from the parent(s) who provide the most financial support to the student (even if the student does not live with them)
Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.
When required, 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 the principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.