FAFSA Simplification

Effective 2024-25

Simplifying the Financial Aid Application Process 

The FAFSA Simplification Act is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Education to make applying for federal student aid easier for students, beginning with the 2024-25 academic year.

This process represents the first major redesign of the FAFSA process in over 40 years and includes a significant overhaul of federal student aid, including the FAFSA form and the way need is calculated.

*Due to the Department of Education needing to complete updates on the FAFSA Form, colleges including George Fox will not be receiving FAFSA records until the first half of March. 

We will continue to update this webpage as we receive more information from the Department of Education.

Current FAFSA Issues FAQ

FAFSA Soft Launch

Once all contributors sign the FAFSA, you are unable to edit the FAFSA until FAFSAs are processed. This is likely to begin the first week of February.

If you included our school code on your FAFSA (003194), then we should receive a copy of your 2024-2025 FAFSA. The Department of Education will process FAFSAs and begin sending them to schools in the first half of March. Once our system is updated we will import your FAFSA and send you an email notification. This is likely to occur in late March.

Only select yes if your parent is unwilling to contribute information on your FAFSA. If you select yes, then you will only be eligible for unsubsidized loans

It is important to select No so that the FAFSA gathers parent information to determine eligibility for Federal Pell and FSEOG grants, Student Employment, State grants, and George Fox need-based grants

Graduate students and those receiving their second undergraduate degree are not eligible for a federal Pell grant.The Department of Education is aware of this communication bug and is working on a fix.
Please review this helpful step-by-step guide for creating an FSA ID without a Social Security Number.

During the week of February 22nd, the Department of Education launched a temporary workaround so students can manually enter parent information and submit their FAFSA to receive a FAFSA submission date for state aid or other scholarship deadlines. The FAFSA will be incomplete until parent contributors can create studentaid.gov accounts and sign the FAFSA. The Department of Education states that the permanent solution will be ready during the first half of March.

If you are an Oregon resident seeking an Oregon Opportunity Grant, OR if you need to complete a FAFSA to provide information to another scholarship organization, we encourage you to follow the workaround guide provided by the Department of Education. There are different steps listed depending on if you have one or both parents without an SSN. This page is available in English and Spanish. You can change the language in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Note: If you as a student already signed your 2024-2025 FAFSA, log in, click on Edit Form, then click on one of the FAFSA sections. Finally, click on any blue-linked FAFSA item to continue to your FAFSA and follow steps 3 and beyond.

If you have any questions, please contact your Financial Aid Counselor, or schedule a meeting. We are here to help!

Every FAFSA question has an info icon next to the question. Click on the “i” icon and an info bubble will appear to clarify exactly what is needed. If you have further questions, reach out to our Financial Aid office.

Some families experience trouble submitting their FAFSA when the parent tries to complete the FAFSA first, or the student tries to submit the FAFSA before the parent completes their part. While Federal Student Aid works to resolve this issue, here is the best way for dependent students to complete the FAFSA:

  • Student starts the FAFSA form and work through all sections up to the parent invite
  • Invite parents to complete their section.
  • Save and stop (do not submit)
  • Parent completes their portion of the FAFSA including signature
  • Student returns to their FAFSA to sign and submit their section
The Department of Education created a Pro Tips page for filling out your FAFSA.

Yes, visit the Federal Student Aid’s Issue Tracker. This provides info on known issues, resolution status, and potential workarounds.

FAFSA Simplification Webinar

Did you miss our FAFSA Simplification webinar? Don't worry, we recorded it for you!

Watch video: FAFSA Simplification Webinar

Benefits to Students and Families

Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid. The benefits of FAFSA simplification include:

  1. A more streamlined application process with a reduced number of questions
  2. Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
  3. Expanded eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant
  4. Better user experience for the FAFSA form
  5. Enhanced data sharing with the IRS to simplify the applicant’s experience

FAFSA Changes for 2024-2025

December 2023 Release Date

The 2024-25 FAFSA is available now at fafsa.gov.

EFC Replaced by SAI

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a number that determines each student’s eligibility for certain types of federal and institutional need-based aid. The SAI can be negative, with a minimum SAI of -1500 instead of zero.

FAFSA Contributors

Anyone asked to provide information on the aid application – a student, spouse, student’s parent(s) and/or stepparents(s) – is called a “contributor” to the application.

  1. Contributor’s name
  2. Date of birth
  3. Social Security number
  4. Email address

All FAFSA contributors must have an FSA ID to log into the online form; a new process to get an FSA ID for parents and spouses without a Social Security number will be available.

IRS DRT Replaced with Direct Data Exchange

Direct data sharing with the IRS will replace what is currently known as the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

All required contributors will need to grant consent to provide their Federal Tax Information (FTI) in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section of the FAFSA for federal student aid eligibility.

Custodial Parent

The custodial parent on your FAFSA will be the parent(s) who provided you with more financial support instead of the parent(s) with whom you lived more during the past 12 months.

Provisional Independent Status

Foster, homeless, and unaccompanied youth, as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information, will be able to complete the form with a provisional independent student determination and receive a calculated SAI.

Changes to Calculating Your Aid Eligibility

Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college, and they will experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid.

Number of Students in College

The FAFSA no longer takes into account the number of students in college from your household in the SAI formula.

Family Farms and Small Businesses

Families must provide the value of their families farm or small business even if they have fewer than 100 employees.

Federal Pell Grant Eligibility

There is now a separate eligibility determination criteria for federal Pell Grants based on federal poverty levels and family size. More students may qualify and many students may see an increase in their award amount under the new criteria guidelines.

General FAFSA FAQ

FAFSA Timeline

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now open at fafsa.gov!
Federal legislation passed in 2020 dictated the largest overhaul of the FAFSA form and filing system since the mid-1990s. The new form and user experience required purchasing new platforms as well as a total redesign which in turn required a long timeframe for preparation. The form should open on Oct. 1 in coming years.
The number of questions on the form has been reduced. The new form will also allow for a much larger percentage of students and parents to have their financial information transferred from the IRS directly into the FAFSA. This enhanced process should make FAFSA submission a more efficient process.

We highly encourage students and parents to create an FSA ID if you have not done so already. You can start this process at studentaid.gov. It takes one to three days for an FSA ID to go through the verification process, so we recommend getting it done now.

We recommend you file as soon as possible. Many need-based grants, including the Oregon Opportunity Grant, are dependent on your filing date, as funding is limited. To make sure you don’t miss out on grant opportunities, you’ll want to file as soon as possible. 
Students can log in and view their FAFSA processing dashboard to see information such as their FAFSA processing status and their contributor’s FAFSA application status. Students will also be able to nudge their contributors to complete the contributor portion of the FAFSA if they have not done so.
Absolutely! We will be holding workshops and help sessions in the spring for anyone who needs help. More information on these will be sent out in January.

FSA ID / Contributors

At the very least, each student will be a contributor. Depending on the student’s family situation, you may need other contributors, such as a parent, spouse, or step-parent

The FAFSA form will guide you through questions to determine who needs to contribute information to your FAFSA. As part of your application, you will invite contributors to create an account and supply the required information.

All contributors are required to grant consent to the IRS to provide their Federal Tax Information (FTI) on the FAFSA. If any contributor to the FAFSA form does not provide consent, submission of the form will still be allowed. However, a Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated and the student will not be eligible for federal, state, and some institutional aid.
No. Every student, parent or spouse who wishes to log in and complete or sign the FAFSA will need to have a verified FSA ID. You will no longer be able to access a FAFSA with student demographic information only.

Yes. FSA is in the process of enhancing the FSA ID process so that individuals without SSNs will be able to establish an FSA ID to access and sign the FAFSA. There will be alternative steps for verifying one’s identity within the process.

FSA will use TransUnion services to ask knowledge-based questions to help with identity verification. Examples of these questions may include current or former addresses, a previous phone number, an employer, or a home/auto loan. Answers will be multiple choice (including “none of the above”). The signature page process has been eliminated with the new form.

Financial Student Aid also has FSA ID FAQs.

Potentially. The primary parent on the FAFSA is the parent who contributed more support to a student in the previous 12 months when completing the FAFSA. Parent support for college is included in the overall support for a student.
Student contribution to their own support is not factored into determining which parent is the primary parent on the FAFSA. Whichever parent contributes more than the other parent is the primary parent on the FAFSA and, therefore, the contributor on the FAFSA.

Students who can answer no to every question below are considered a dependent student on the 2024-2025 FAFSA. This means that a student can be a dependent student even if they live away from home and/or contribute most or all of their own financial support.

  • Were you born before Jan. 1, 2001?
  • As of today, are you married? (Answer “no” if you are separated but not divorced.)
  • At the beginning of the 2024–25 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training? (If you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee, are you on active duty for other than state or training purposes?)
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
  • Do you have children or other people (excluding your spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you now and between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were you an orphan (no living biological or adoptive parent)?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were you a ward of the court?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were you in foster care?
  • Are you or were you a legally emancipated minor, as determined by a court in your state of residence?
  • Are you or were you in a legal guardianship with someone other than your parent or stepparent, as determined by a court in your state of residence?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2023, were you unaccompanied and either (1) homeless or (2) self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

Federal Methodology Formula

The EFC has been renamed the Student Aid Index (SAI) to better reflect that this number is an indicator that colleges can use to determine the need level for the student.

No. The new legislation removed the number of family members in college from the formula. However, the question will remain on the form and will be required to be answered. To help families who may be negatively impacted by this change, George Fox may consider the number of students in college through a Professional Judgment . More details will be available soon.

No. The new legislation removed the exemption for reporting the net value of family farms and businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The net value of these assets will need to be included when the student/family is required to answer the asset questions.
FSA will be producing a parent infographic document that can help guide the answer about which parent(s) to report. We will link to that here as soon as that becomes available. There will also be a parent set of questions in the web version of the form that can help guide a student about which parent(s) need to provide information on the form.
Depending on the reason you indicate on your FAFSA for your independent status, we may contact you to request additional information or documentation to finalize your dependency status.
The net worth of your current businesses is the amount left over after subtracting the debt from the value of the business. Business value includes the market value of land, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, etc. Business debt means only those debts for which the business was used as collateral.
The FAFSA asks about personal income which comes from your personal tax return. The business income is not reported. However, the FAFSA asks about business net worth which would include the equity in your business (value of the business less any debts owed against that business).
Retirement income will transfer directly from the IRS using the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX). If you are unable to use the DDX, you will need to manually enter the untaxed amount of pensions and annuities. The taxed portion is already factored into your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) when entered on the FAFSA.
A 529 college savings plan should be listed as a parent asset for a dependent student. Only the 529 plan for that student should be listed as a parent asset. (i.e. a sibling’s 529 plan should not be listed as an asset for the student and parent completing the FAFSA. The sibling’s 529 plan should be listed on their own FAFSA.)
For dependent students, education savings accounts will only be counted as a parental asset if the account is designated for the student. 529 savings plans can only have one beneficiary. As such, it needs to be reported on that student’s FAFSA under a parent asset. If the student is independent, it would be reported as a student asset.

Contact Us

If you have any questions at all, stop by our office on the second floor of the Stevens Center, give us a call at 503-554-2302 or schedule an appointment online. We’re here to help!