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FAFSA Simplification

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Updated: February 22, 2024

FAFSA Simplification Act

In December 2020, Congress amended the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which included the FAFSA Simplification Act. This redesign is the first major update to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in over 40 years. The changes include updates to the form, need analysis, terminology, and policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

Typically, the FAFSA is released in October for the upcoming year. This year, the FAFSA was delayed until December 2023. It is Now available! to be completed. 

Before completing the 2024-25 FAFSA, we encourage families to review the Pro Tips for the 24-25 FAFSA webpage created by Federal Student Aid (FSA). 

Benefits of FAFSA Simplification

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


How will this impact Early Decision (ED) Students?

Dickinson College uses the CSS Profile as well as the FAFSA to determine demonstrated financial need. Due to this, Early Decision (ED) students will receive an estimated financial aid offer in December. Federal and state grant eligibility will not be reflected in the initial aid offer. An updated financial aid offer will be sent once your FAFSA has been received. Once the FAFSA is filed, if you are eligible for any Federal Grant or State Grant aid, the Dickinson Grant will be adjusted accordingly. In most cases, your total amount of grant/scholarship aid will not change. 

An updated financial aid offer will be sent in March provided your FAFSA has been received and the tuition, fees, housing, and food have been finalized by the Board of Trustees (this typically occurs in late February). In the meantime, should you have any questions, please reach out to your financial aid counselor.

Please see the example below:

Early Decision – initial aid offer:

Dickinson Grant


Total Grant Aid


Federal Direct Loan


Federal Work Study


Total Aid:



Revised aid offer after FAFSA has been received:

Dickinson Grant


Federal Pell Grant


Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)


Total Grant Aid


Federal Direct Loan


Federal Work Study


Total Aid:



**Total amount of grant/scholarship aid is the same, just from different sources**


Changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA

Streamlined Form

  • Available in 11 languages.
  • Consumer tested with first-generation students and families, as well as families from low-income backgrounds.
  • Foster, homeless, and unaccompanied youth will be able to complete the form with provisional independent student determination and receive a calculated Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • Applicants and contributors will consent to providing their Federal Tax Information (FTI) imported into the FAFSA via a direct data share with the IRS.
  • A reduction in questions from a maximum of 108 to 46.

Expanded Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI formula removes the number of family members in college, reduces the number of assets families need to report, and allows a minimum SAI of -1500.

Federal Pell Grant access will be expanded and linked to family size and federal poverty levels, which will allow more students and families from low-income backgrounds to qualify.

Middle Picture

FAFSA Simplification FAQs

Once I am accepted, when can I expect to receive an updated Financial Aid Offer Letter?

Federal Student Aid (FSA) will start releasing the Institutional Student Information Records (ISIR)* sometime in the first half of March. We anticipate it will take multiple weeks to receive all the ISIRs that students and applicants have submitted since the 2024-25 FAFSA became available. Once we start receiving ISIRs, we will be reviewing the financial aid application and making updates as necessary to the estimated federal aid eligibility in your Financial Aid Offer. After your FAFSA has been reviewed, a new financial aid offer will be released. You will then be notified via email that you have a new Financial Aid Offer Letter in your Applicant Student Portal to review. We do not expect to have any updated Financial Aid Offer Letter's available until April.


*Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) - An electronic record that the Department of Education transmits to an institution that includes an applicant's FAFSA information; personal identification information, and SAI (formerly EFC). 

How do I complete the FAFSA?

Online FAFSA Form – Students, spouses, parents, and preparers can complete an application online and send it directly to the FAFSA Processing System. If the student has applied the prior year, certain data will prefill in the FAFSA and will reduce the time it takes to fill out the new form. An FSA ID is necessary to log in to the online FAFSA form. The student, their spouse, and their parents can electronically sign the FAFSA form but must do so with their own FSA ID. A verified email address or cell phone number can be used instead of the username. Users can create an FSA ID online quickly and securely.

Paper FAFSA Form –The paper FAFSA form can be downloaded and filled out by hand and mailed to the Program Support Center (PSC), formerly known as the Image and Data Capture (IDC) processor.

How do I correct a previously submitted FAFSA?

How to Correct or Update your FAFSA Form

Online FAFSA Form – Students, spouses, and parents can correct previously submitted data that was not imported from the Internal Revenue System (IRS).

FAFSA Partner Portal – A Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) can submit corrections to a student’s application data using the FAFSA Partner Portal (FPP).

Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) – Schools can submit corrections to FAFSA data electronically by entering the data in the FPP or by transmitting it to the FAFSA Processing System (FPS).

Paper FAFSA Submission Summary – After processing is complete, the FPS produces an electronic or paper FAFSA Submission Summary. The paper summary can be used to correct incorrect or missing information and can be taken to the FAA to input the updates using FPP or EDE or the student can mail it directly to the PSC.

Who is considered a contributor on the FAFSA?

A contributor is anyone who is required to provide information on the FAFSA form. This includes the student, student spouse, biological or adoptive parent, or the parent's spouse (stepparent). 


Will my parents need an FSA ID/ account?

All FAFSA contributors (student, student spouse, biological or adoptive parent, or parent’s spouse), will need an FSA ID/ account to access and complete their section of the online form.

The FSA ID/ account takes 4 days to process once it is created. Due to this, we encourage all FAFSA contributors to create their account right away. 

All FSA ID/ accounts will need an active email address to create the account. If you do not have an active email address, you will need to create one - no exceptions. 


My parents do not have a social security number, can they still complete the FAFSA?

(5/24) - How To Submit the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form if Your Contributor Doesn't Have an SSN 

Parents will be able to get an FSA ID/ account (account username and password) without having an SSN to access and complete their section of the 2024–25 FAFSA form. We have listed steps to help with this process for the online and paper forms below:

2024-25 online FAFSA form:

Step 1: An individual should visit, select “Create Account” and complete all steps, including answering 1-4 knowledge-based verification questions via TransUnion®.

Step 2: Upon completing the Create Account process, the individual will see a confirmation page with the results of their identity verification. If they failed the TransUnion® process, the individual will be informed that FSA was unable to verify their information and that they must contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.

Note: The individual will also receive an email from FSA informing them to call FSAIC for next steps and verify their identity.

Step 3: Once the individual contacts FSAIC, FSA will create a case number and send them a verification email, which will include guidance on how to submit copies of unexpired acceptable documentation (listed below) to verify their identity. Individuals will also be required to submit an attestation and validation of identity form along with their approved identity documentation. This form will be available on

Acceptable Documents to Establish an Individual’s Identity:


Provide one (1) of the following documents to establish identity:

  • U.S. Driver’s License
  • U.S. State/City Identification Card
  • Foreign Passport




One (1) set of documents below to establish identity:

  • Municipal Identification Cards + utility bill
  • Community ID + utility bill
  • Consular Identification Cards/Matricula Consular + utility bill

Step 4: Upon receipt of the email that FSA was unable to verify their identity, an individual is then required to submit one or a combination of their acceptable documentation from the list above and a signed attestation form to:

Step 5: FSA will review an individual’s submitted documentation and signed attestation form to ensure it is acceptable and matches the account information provided during the Create Account process. If there is a successful match, the Department will finalize the account creation. The individual will receive an email indicating their identity has been verified and that they may now use their account username and password (FSA ID) to log in at and complete applications for student financial assistance programs.

2024-25 Paper Form

On the 2024–25 FAFSA form, if the parent is completing their own section and doesn't have an SSN, the SSN will be blank and disabled. If the parent has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), they should add it to the FAFSA form. If they don't have an ITIN, they should leave that question blank.


Who needs to provide consent on the FAFSA?

Due to the use of Federal Tax Information (FTI), applicants and other contributors (anyone providing income information such as parents, adoptive parents, stepparents, and spouses of independent students) must provide consent.

Applicants will invite a contributor to complete their portion of the FAFSA by entering the contributor's name, date of birth, SSN, and email address.

An email will be sent using the email address provided to each contributor instructing them to complete their portion of the FAFSA form and give consent to use FTI.

All contributors must create an FSA ID if they do not already have one.

All contributors must provide consent before any federal financial aid eligibility can be determined.

For each successive FAFSA cycle in which a student applies for federal student aid, consent will be required by any FAFSA contributors to use their FTI.

How is the family size determined?

The definition of family size has changed to align with the number of individuals reported as dependents on the applicant’s parents (dependent) or applicants’ (independent) U.S. tax return. If your family size differs from what was reported on the tax return, you will have the chance to update this manually on the FAFSA. 

My parents are separated or divorced, who should complete the FAFSA?

To determine who should complete the 2024-25 FAFSA (parent of record), use the table below:

Parents Marital    Status Provide Information for
Never married Provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months. If both parents provided an exact equal amount of financial support or if they don’t support you financially, provide information for the parent with the greater income or assets.
Unmarried and both legal parents living together Both of your legal parents
Married Both of your parents
Married (after being widowed or divorced) Parent and stepparent
Divorced or separated Provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months. If both parents provided an exact equal amount of financial support or if they don’t support you financially, provide information for the parent with the greater income or assets.
Widowed Your parent


What is the Student Aid Index (SAI)

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The SAI will differ from the EFC in several ways:

  • Reduction in the number of income items and allowances against income.
  • Significant change to the assets that are included and excluded from the need analysis.
  • Changes the family size definition and removes number in college from the equation (this question is still asked on the form).
  • Allows for a negative SAI up to -1500.
  • Implements separate Pell Grant eligibility determination.
  • Removal of alternate SAI’s for enrollment periods less than 9 months.  
What does a negative Student Aid Index (SAI) mean?

A negative SAI allows colleges to identify students with greater financial need. Students who have a negative SAI are not eligible for additional financial aid, nor can their financial aid go over the cost of attendance (COA).

How will families with multiple dependents in college be impacted?

The number of household members (dependents) in college was a major part of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) need analysis. Starting with the 24-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask this question, but your answer will not have any impact on your Student Aid Index (SAI). Dickinson College students with multiple siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

The SAI formula does increase certain allowances to mitigate any loss in federal aid due to this.

Dickinson College will continue using the CSS Profile when determining institutional need-based financial aid. The number in college is still factored in the CSS Profile’s formula.

*Dependents in graduate or professional school are excluded from the number in college calculation. 

Which assets are factored into the new Student Aid Index (SAI)?

Assets will now include the following:

  • Child support received.
  • Net worth of any business owned by a contributor.
  • Net worth of any family farm unless it is your (applicant or contributor) primary residence. This may include the fair market value of land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts held against those assets.
  • For dependent students, education savings account will only be counted as a parental asset if the account is designated for the student. Prior to this year, educational savings accounts for any other children were required as well.
Will I have to provide my business/farm assets?

Yes, the net worth of business is no longer limited to those with more than 100 full-time employees. Applicants and contributors of dependent students will be asked to report the net worth of all business, regardless of the size of that business.

Yes, the net worth of any family farm is required unless it is your (applicant or contributor of a dependent student) primary residence. This may include the fair market value of land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts held against those assets.

What Federal Tax Information (FTI) is imported from the IRS?

The following data is imported from the IRS and is considered FTI:

  • Tax Filing Status
  • Adjust Gross Income (AGI)
  • Number of Exemptions and Number of Dependents
  • Income Earned from Work
  • Taxes Paid
  • Educational Credits
  • Untaxed IRA distributions
  • IRA deductible and payments
  • Tax-exempt interest
  • Untaxed pension amounts
  • Schedule C net profit/loss
  • Indicators for Schedules A, B, D, E, F, H
  • IRS Response Codes
Do I still need to provide consent if I did not file taxes?

Because the FUTURE Act requires consent to use FTI for federal student aid eligibility and FTI includes filing status, nontax filers must also provide consent.

I am a dependent student, my parents will not provide their information or give consent to use their Federal Tax Information (FTI), can I still complete the FAFSA?

If your parents do not provide their information or are unwilling to give consent to use FTI, you can still complete the FAFSA, but you will not receive a Student Aid Index (SAI) amount.

You (the student) can request to have the school determine your eligibility for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan only.

If you indicate this was due to unusual circumstances, you may be eligible for a provisional independent status.

What Is Not Changing?

  • Dickinson College will continue using the CSS Profile to determine institutional need-based financial aid.
  • The federal student loan program (Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Parent PLUS) limits will not change.
  • The FAFSA must be completed in its entirety to be considered for any federal and most state financial aid.
  • Questions determining an applicant’s dependency status will remain the same.
  • The FTI used to determine the SAI will still be prior-prior year. This means that the 2024-25 FAFSA will use 2022 FTI.

When Should I Submit the 2024-25 FAFSA?

Prospective Students

Students applying for admission in the 2024-25 academic year, who will be requesting financial aid, should complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December. 

Continuing Students

Students enrolled and attending classes at Dickinson College should complete the 2024-25 FAFSA as soon as they can. The deadline for these students will be May 1, 2024. 

*The Dickinson College financial aid office will continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid. As such, we appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought on by the FAFSA Simplification Act this year.