How will the changes to FAFSA affect UNLV students?

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Graphic by Kayla Roberts.

The FAFSA Simplification Act is going into effect for the 2024-2025 school year and makes many changes to the FAFSA form. Continue reading to learn more about the ways that these changes will directly affect students here at UNLV. 

Zachary Goodwin, the executive director of the Financial Aid and Scholarships department at UNLV, explained in a written interview, “I don’t foresee the FAFSA changes impacting our students with one exception, that the form will be available later than normal.” Rather than being released on Oct. 1 as usual, it will instead be released sometime in December. The exact date has not yet been announced.

“We do not expect that the delay will impact the timing of our communication to students about their financial aid eligibility in late spring 2024,” Goodwin continued. “The priority deadline for continuing UNLV students to complete the FAFSA is April 15, 2024. This is also the deadline for students who do not have a Social Security Number to complete the Alternate Need Form (ANF) in the Rebel Success Hub.”

All students and contributors for the application must obtain a federal student aid (FSA) ID to sign the form. For students who do not have a Social Security Number, Goodwin recommends, “If a student with a Social Security Number does not have an FSA ID, it is helpful to get one now. They can simply go to StudentAid.gov and click ‘Create Account.’ One initial setup is completed, it will take one to three days for the U.S. Department of Education to process it.” Contributors who do not have social security numbers will also need a FSA ID but will go through a different verification process that has not yet been made available. 

In addition to the aforementioned changes, the way that financial aid is calculated will be updated. Prior to the FAFSA Simplification Act, the estimated family contribution (EFC) was the way that estimated need was calculated. Now, the student aid index (SAI) will be used to calculate the aid a student gets. 

Goodwin commented, “The SAI calculation is more accommodating to students with larger families and to single parents, and in general will allow more students to qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, or to qualify for a larger one than they have in the past.” He also adds, “A key distinction between the EFC and SAI calculations is that having multiple family members in college, which would reduce the EFC, will not reduce the SAI. Another significant change is that the SAI can be less than zero, as low as -1500.” Additionally, students who qualify for the maximum amount of Pell Grant will receive it, regardless of the SAI. 

For more information, students can call the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships at 833-318-1228. Students can also submit a case in the Rebel Success Hub or visit the second floor of the Student Services Center (SSC-A). Additionally, in late December 2023 or January 2024, the Financial Aid & Scholarships department will be hosting workshops and labs for students who need further assistance. 

Any students interested in reading further about the upcoming FAFSA changes can click here.

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