FAFSA Simplification | GCTC

FAFSA Simplification


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 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, need analysis, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

Typically, the FAFSA for the 2024-25 award year would have been available October 1, 2023. Due to major changes and improvements coming with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the release was delayed and is anticipated to be available on December 31, 2023.

Although the 2024-25 FAFSA is not expected to be available until December 31, 2023, students and contributors (spouse or parent(s) if applicable) are encouraged to create their FSA ID as soon as possible to ensure it is confirmed before initiating the FAFSA.

Federal Student Aid offers a series of short videos that cover into several important changes that you will need to understand to file the 2024/25 FAFSA.


Contributor is a new term for the 2024/2025 FAFSA. A contributor is anyone who is required to provide their consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA form and provide a signature on the form. Not every person whose information is required to be included on the student’s FAFSA is required to provide consent and approval for their tax information to be transferred from the IRS into the student’s FAFSA. This would include the other parent or stepparent if they filed as married filing jointly with the parent, or the student’s spouse if they filed married filing jointly with the student. Only one taxpayer included on a married, filing jointly tax return must provide consent and approval.

Contributors Include:

  • The student
  • The student’s spouse if they did not file as married filing jointly with the student on the federal income tax return used for the FAFSA that year. For 2024/2025, 2022 tax information will be required.
  • The student’s parent if the student is a dependent student.
  • The student’s other parent if they are married to or live with the parent and they did not file as married filing jointly with the parent on the federal income tax return used for the FAFSA that year. For 2024/2025, 2022 tax information will be required.
  • The student’s stepparent if they are married to student’s parent and they did not file as married filing jointly with the parent on the federal income tax return used for the FAFSA that year. For 2024/2025, 2022 tax information will be required.
  • Except for the student, being considered a contributor does not mean they have a responsibility to pay for the student’s educational expenses.
  • Everyone who is determined to be a contributor must provide consent and approval. If all contributors do not provide consent and approval, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid.
  • If no contributors log in and provide consent and approval within 45 days of the FAFSA application being started, it will be deleted.


The FSA ID is a username and password combination that is used to log in to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) online systems. The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and shouldn’t be created or used by anyone other than the person for which it was created.

  • The FSA ID is not assigned instantaneously; we recommend creating it at least 2 weeks prior to submission of the FAFSA.
  • Anyone who already has an FSA ID prior to beginning the 2024/2025 FAFSA can use their existing username and password to log in, provide consent, and sign the FAFSA.
  • The FSA ID is not assigned instantaneously; we recommend creating it at least 2 weeks prior to submission of the FAFSA.
  • The FSA ID is required for Federal Student Aid online systems (cannot log on with demographic info) and must be verified with phone number or email.
  • Parents with no Social Security Number (SSN) can still create an FSA ID using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) or a knowledge-based identify verification software through TransUnion.
  • Undocumented parents will need an FSA ID

There is an onboarding process with initial login to assist contributors and a Parent Wizard to help in determining whose information should be included on the FAFSA.


Some federal and state grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible students.

Students who file their FAFSA early and complete any additional steps will know the types and amount of financial aid offered to them well before payment is due for the fall 2024 semester.


The FAFSA can be initiated once the student and contributors have obtained an FSA ID.

  1. If a student begins the FAFSA, the student invites parent(s) to contribute their information.
    If a parent begins the FAFSA, the parent(s) invites the student to contribute their information.
  2. To invite a contributor to log in and provide consent and their signature, the following information must be provided:
    • Contributor's name as it is with the Social Security Administration
    • Contributor’s date of birth
    • Contributor’s Social Security Number (SSN) Note: If a contributor doesn't have an SSN, they can still be invited to complete their portion of the FAFSA form
    • Contributor’s email address.  This does not have to be the same email address the contributor used when applying for their FSA ID. Students or parents can log in via email invitation or the Federal Student Aid dashboard.
  3. The last contributor to complete their portion will have the opportunity to submit the FAFSA.

Students will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary from ED once the FAFSA has been processed (for the initial 2024-25 FAFSA’s submitted, this could be late January 2024 before the info is available). FAFSA information may not be made available to the Gateway Financial Aid Office until sometime after FAFSAs are processed. Once this information has been received by the College, students be able to see if anything additional is required from them by viewing their to-do list on their student homepage.

What are the major changes?

The form now has fewer questions, and more students and parents can easily transfer their financial info from the IRS to the FAFSA. This upgrade makes submitting the FAFSA faster and simpler.
To complete the online FAFSA, everyone must have an FSA ID for access. Ensure the FSA ID is created and confirmed before accessing the FAFSA.
Logging into the 2024-25 FAFSA with an FSA ID involves a two-step authentication process and uses various verification methods (email, text, authentication apps).

When starting the FAFSA, students will identify parents or spouses contributing financial information. It's crucial to enter their information as it appears in their FSA ID for matching and access to the student's FAFSA.

Each person's FAFSA role corresponds to specific questions. Students, parents, or spouses will see questions relevant to their role. After everyone completes their role-specific questions, the FAFSA can be submitted.
Household size is now known as family size, determined by exemptions claimed on federal tax returns. It can be adjusted to match the current situation.
Families with an adjusted gross income above $60,000 (previously $50,000) or specific schedules must report assets. There are no exemptions for reporting net business or family farm value. Some current FAFSA filers may see an increased SAI due to the inclusion of all business or farm net values, even with no income changes.
Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and a change in the methodology used to determine aid. The new Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) that was used previously.
The Student Aid Index (SAI) formula will not consider the number in college. This change can affect students with multiple siblings in college, potentially resulting in a higher SAI without any income changes.
Pell Grant eligibility is determined by the SAI and Federal Poverty Tables, accounting for family makeup, size, and income. If a student meets the Poverty Table guidelines for the maximum or minimum Pell award and the SAI calculation, they will receive the higher Pell Grant amount determined by these two separate formulas.
The new SAI formula may yield a negative SAI down to -1500, applicable to non-filer families. However, it won't result in a larger Pell Grant than a zero SAI, and colleges can't award more than the cost of attendance.
Terminology Changes
Old New
Award Letter Aid Offer/Aid Notification
Room & Board Food & Housing
Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) Student Aid Index (SAI)
Parent 1 & 2 Parent/Other Parent
Household Size Family Size
IRS Data Retrieval Direct Data Exchange
Dependency Questions Student Personal Circumstances
Student Aid Report (SAR) FAFSA Submission Summary