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The FAFSA is Changing! Here’s What You Should Know

The FAFSA Simplification Act was recently enacted by Congress to make applying for federal financial aid more accessible for students, expanding the financial aid you are eligible to receive. The new FAFSA will have fewer questions, and it will be easier for students and their families to import important tax information. 

December Release

You may have noticed that the FAFSA didn’t launch on October 1 as it has in the recent past. For 2024-2025, the FAFSA will launch in December although an official date has yet to be announced.

When the FAFSA does open, we encourage you to complete it as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for processing and notifying you of your financial aid offer for the 2024-2025 aid year.

Student Aid Index (SAI) is Replaced the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Once your FAFSA is completed and submitted, a Student Aid Index (SAI) will be calculated and this index will be used to determine the types of federal financial aid you are eligible for, and for how much. The formula used to calculate the SAI is new, and it was designed to expand eligibility for need-based financial aid assistance.

Contributors and Consent to Import Tax Information

One of the important changes made to the FAFSA is the term “contributor” which is any person who is required to provide their tax information on your FAFSA. How you answer the questions on the FAFSA will determine who is a contributor. This includes:

  • You, the student

  • Your spouse if you are married

  • Your biological or adoptive parent(s) if you are a dependent student

  • Your stepparent if the parent listed on your FAFSA is remarried

All contributors are required to consent to having their federal tax information (FTI) shared with your FAFSA application through the IRS Direct Data Exchange. This is similar to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Contributors will receive an email informing them that they will need to provide additional information and will need to log in using their own FSA user ID and password.

Being a contributor does not hold that person financially responsible for your educational costs.

If a contributor does not consent to having their federal tax information shared with the FAFSA, you can still submit your FAFSA but a Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated. Essentially, your application is incomplete.

Supporting Documentation and Verification

In some instances, you and/or your contributors may provide consent but essential tax information is not able to be shared with your FAFSA. You may still be required to provide copies of that information to the financial aid office so that we can ensure your FAFSA is accurately completed.

If you are required to submit additional information, or if your FAFSA is selected for Verification, you will receive notifications from the ACC Financial Aid Office via your assigned student email account. These requirements will also be listed in myACC under your Financial Aid Requirements.

A Few Other Changes

  • The number in college will not be used in your SAI calculation

  • The Student Aid Report (SAR) is now known as the FAFSA Submission Summary

  • The parent reported on your FAFSA is the parent who provides the most financial support

Your Next Steps to Prepare for the 2024-2025 FAFSA

  • Create your FSA User ID

    • An FSA User ID serves as your electronic signature for the FAFSA. You can create your own at if you haven’t completed one yet, and this is where your contributors can create their FSA user ID’s as well.

  • Gather your 2022 tax information

  • Complete the 2024-2025 when it launches

  • Complete the 2024-2025 ACC Scholarship Application (Now Open!) before April 12, 2024 

As we receive more information about the 2024-2025 FAFSA, we will provide additional updates. The Federal Student Aid YouTube page has been publishing short video clips outlining some of the FAFSA changes to help students and families prepare.

Stay tuned for upcoming FAFSA Completion Workshops offered by ACC Financial Aid Staff. These will be held in early 2024 after the FAFSA opens and will be in addition to the existing FAFSA Lab appointments. More information to come!

As always, please let us know if you have any questions! We are happy to help you! 

Your ACC Financial Aid Team
finaid [at] arapahoe [dot] edu (finaid[at]arapahoe[dot]edu)