FAFSA Simplification

FAFSA is Open

 

FAFSA Simplification - What does this mean?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your annual application for financial aid and determines whether you qualify for grants, work-study, loans, need-based scholarships, and other institutional/state grants.  But, things are changing for the FAFSA for the upcoming 2024-2025 aid year!  The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) will update this page as additional information is made available so we can continue to educate students, families, and our campus community on the new processes.

Why is the FAFSA changing?

The FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted by Congress as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and it is an initiative to make applying for federal student aid easier for students.  This process is the first major redesign of the FAFSA process in over 40 years!

  What are key changes?

Instead of opening on October 1, the 2024-2025 FAFSA was made available December 31, 2023. You and your FAFSA contributors can access the form at studentaid.gov.

The new FAFSA will feature fewer questions, have fewer requirements, and retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

 

  • The FAFSA is introducing the new term “contributor”, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student’s college costs.
    • Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to apply for a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID), if they don’t have one already, and to complete the required portions of the FAFSA.
    • Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.
  • All Contributors must provide consent to have tax data transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. If consent is not provided by all parties, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid.  In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional; it is now required.
  • The Parent of Record for divorced or separated parents will be now be determined as the parent who provides the most financial support, even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with another parent.
  • The need analysis formula to determine financial aid, formerly knows as Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will now be referred to as the Student Aid Index (SAI). Unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number.
  • The net worth of a business and/or family farm will no longer be excluded for families with fewer than 100 full-time employees. Child support received will now count as an asset instead of income.
  • The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA, but the new SAI will no longer use the number in the eligibility formula. This may reduce need-based aid eligibility for current students with siblings in college.
  • The Student Aid Report (SAR) will now be referred to as the FAFSA Submission Summary. This is the summary document you receive after completing and submitting the FAFSA.

Pell Grant eligibility will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level. The expectation is more students will qualify for this need-based aid.

 

What is Not Changing?

The following federal financial aid requirements, rights, and responsibilities have not changed or had only minor updates:

  • The FAFSA remains required annually for federal aid consideration and is available to U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens.
  • Questions introduced in 2023-2024 about the applicant’s sex, race, and ethnicity have no effect on federal student aid eligibility. They remain only for statistical purposes, and they will not be shared with the University of Wyoming for each applicant.
  • Dependency status questions remain to be determined if your parents must provide their information on the FAFSA as a financial information contributor.
  • The FAFSA form will still utilize prior-prior year tax information, so the 2024-2025 FAFSA will use 2022 federal tax return data. Families who have significant reductions in income due to extenuating circumstances can still request a review of special circumstances.  Not all changes in financial circumstances change aid eligibility.
  • Federal student loan requirements remain the same.
  • Student rights and responsibilities have not changed. These consumer information requirements are collected in one place, and you can learn more about accessibility, accreditation, and affirmative action, as well as institutional equity and compliance.  Some of the more common student disclosures regarding financial aid for your review include:
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy provides details regarding guidelines for continued financial aid eligibility.
  • Return of Title IV funds policy provides details regarding the University refund polity and requirements to return unearned funds to the federal government.

Important!

FAFSA Site Pauses:  Once the FAFSA opens, the Department of Education (ED) plans on monitoring site performance, conducting planned pauses for maintenance, and making updates when necessary.  As a result, the system may experience intermittent pauses.  During these pauses, users who are already online will be able to complete their work, but other users may not be able to begin or resume work on the FAFSA until a later time.  Applicants may also experience a waiting room feature, which will help control website volumes.

Aid Awarding Expectations: Once all sections of the online FAFSA are completed and submitted, the student will receive a confirmation email from ED. However, ED will not make student FAFSA data available to the specified institution(s) until the first half of March. This means that there will be a delay in packaging students with their eligible federal and/or need-based aid. The financial aid notifications for new incoming students will also be delayed.  When a more concrete timeline is available, we will update this website.

FAFSA Submitted Status: A FAFSA cannot be considered “submitted” until all required contributors have completed, signed, and submitted their respective sections. When a student or other contributor completes their section of the online FAFSA, they will invite the other contributor(s) to log in and complete their own sections of the FAFSA. If a contributor does not complete their section within a 45-day window, and there is no other activity, the FAFSA will be deleted and all contributors (including the student) will have to start over.

 

 

Contact Us

Scholarships & Financial Aid

1000 E. University Ave. Dept. 3335

Knight Hall, Room 174

Laramie, WY 82071-3335

Phone: (307) 766-2116

Fax: (307) 766-3800

Email: finaid@uwyo.edu

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