Harper College

FAFSA Simplification

What is FAFSA Simplification?

FAFSA Simplification represents big changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and how financial aid is determined for the 2024-25 aid year. The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed on December 27, 2020, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid starting with the 2024-25 award year. This includes the FAFSA form, need analysis, new terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

Major Changes in 2024-25 That Will Impact You

FAFSA Launch Date
The 2024-25 FAFSA was delayed and became available December 31, 2023. Complete the application at 2024-25 FAFSA form
Learn more about the launch.

What is a Contributor?
contributor is a new term on the 2024-25 FAFSA. A contributor is anyone who is required to provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred directly from the IRS into the FAFSA form and provide a signature on the form. A contributor is:

  • You, the student, and, if applicable, contributors may also include,
  • Your spouse,
  • Your parent,
  • Your parent's spouse or partner

Watch this video to learn about contributors. Each contributor will need to create a StudentAid.gov account (see below) to enter their information and complete their section of the FAFSA.  

Create a StudentAid.gov Account
If you have not done so already, you will need to create a StudentAid.gov account to apply for, receive and manage your federal student aid. This will create an FSA ID (username and password) that is used to electronically sign your FAFSA. Watch this video on creating a StudentAid.gov account. If you have an FSA ID from a prior year, you will continue to use it.

Creating a StudentAid.gov Account without a Social Security Number
Contributors who do not have a social security number are able to create an account for the 2024-25 FAFSA by following the instructions and prompts to create a StudentAid.gov account. See these 7-steps in:


What Information Will You Need?
You will need specific information on hand to complete the FAFSA such as demographic information, social security number, an email address, and 2022 federal tax information. See the list of information.


Why Do I Need to Provide Consent and Approval?
Consent and approval are needed to retrieve and disclose federal tax information from each participant on the 2024-25 FAFSA. With consent and approval, ED obtains your federal tax information automatically from the IRS to help complete the FAFSA form. If consent and approval are not provided by the student and all contributors on the FAFSA form, the student will not be eligible for federal student aid, including grants and loans. All participants must provide consent and approval even if they didn’t file a U.S. federal tax return or any tax return at all.


An Incomplete FAFSA Will Be Deleted After 45 Days
An incomplete 2024-25 FAFSA will be deleted after 45 days of inactivity. A FAFSA cannot be considered submitted until all required contributors have completed, signed, and submitted their sections. 


Watch for Your Email and FAFSA Submission Summary
After all sections of the online FAFSA form are completed and submitted, you will receive a confirmation email noting your submission date, your estimated Student Aid Index – SAI (formerly called the Expected Family Contribution) and estimated Federal Pell Grant eligibility. However, you will not receive a FAFSA Submission Summary (formerly called the Student Aid Report) until ED processes the FAFSA information.

What is the Student Aid Index?

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is new to the 2024-25 FAFSA and replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) when calculating financial need. The SAI is a result of the information provided by the student and their contributors on the FAFSA. SAI is an eligibility index that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. See more information about how aid is awarded

Pell Grant Eligibility Changes for 2024-25

Starting in the 2024-25 academic year, the amount of Federal Pell Grant is determined using factors such as the Student Aid Index (SAI) adjusted gross income, tax filing status, and the U.S. annual poverty level guidelines for family size and state of residence. 

The amount of Federal Pell Grant a student can be eligible to receive falls into three categories with the maximum and minimum Federal Pell Grant awards for 2024-25 noted below.  *The maximum and minimum Federal Pell Grant award amounts for 2024-25 are subject to change pending federal budget actions taken by Congress. 

  1. Maximum Federal Pell Grant Eligibility
    Student Aid Index is -1500 to 0.
    Maximum Federal Pell Grant award for 2024-25 = $7,395
  2. Calculated Scheduled Award (CSA)
    Maximum Federal Pell minus Student Aid Index
  3. Minimum Federal Pell Grant Eligibility
    Do not qualify for a Maximum Federal Pell Grant or for a Calculated Scheduled Award because the Student Aid Index is too high and meets the eligibility for a minimum Federal Pell Grant based on the factors listed above.
    Minimum Federal Pell Grant award for 2024-25 = $740

Federal Student Aid Estimator is a tool available for students to get an early estimate of how much federal student aid they may be eligible for in the 2024-25 award year. Reminder, this is an estimator and not the FAFSA. Learn more and complete the Federal Student Aid Estimator.


Enrollment Intensity 
For 2024-25, the enrollment statuses used to award the Pell Grant will be replaced with a new term called “enrollment intensity.” Previously, Pell Grants were awarded based on full-time (12 or more hours), three-quarter-time (9-11 credit hours), half-time (6-8 credit hours) or less-than-half-time (1-5 credit hours) enrollment statuses.

Enrollment intensity is the percentage of full-time enrollment at which a student is enrolled, rounded to the nearest whole percent. 

Full-time enrollment is 12 or more credit hours and the student is enrolled in 7 credit hours. The enrollment intensity would be (7/12) x 100% = 58%. The student’s scheduled Pell Grant award is then multiplied by the student’s enrollment intensity percentage to determine the Annual Pell Grant Award.

2024-25 Financial Aid Notifications
Financial aid offices will not be receiving FAFSA information from ED until the first half of March. This will cause delays in 2024-25 financial aid packaging and award notifications going out to students from colleges.


Stay Informed about 2024-25 FAFSA Changes and Receive Up-to-date Notifications and Information
To ensure you receive future updates, log in to your StudentAid.gov account and confirm ED has your current email address.


We Are Here to Help!
Harper College offers FAFSA/Alternative Application Workshops, assistance in the One Stop and via an appointment



Last Updated: 2/1/24