Change is hard and we’ve endured a lot of change over the last few years! Get ready for another biggie coming in the 2024/2025 award year. The transition from EFC to the Student Aid Index (SAI) is the largest overhaul of the federal needs analysis calculation since the FAFSA® was introduced in 1992. The good news is, other than some changes resulting from FAFSA® simplification and some new lingo, the calculations (still one each for dependent students, independent students without dependents, and independent students with dependents) will be very recognizable to you. And, the upside is you’ll never again have to answer the question, “Why do I have a bill when FAFSA says my family’s expected contribution is $0.00?”
So, EFC will be replaced by SAI and the term EFA (estimated financial assistance) will be replaced with OFA (other financial assistance) so the new calculation for need-based aid eligibility will be COA (cost of attendance) – SAI – OFA.
There are a few differences between the current EFC and the coming SAI formulas and usage.
- There are fewer income categories and allowances against income
- Some items currently reported as income will be reported as assets instead
- The definition of family size has been simplified and the number of family members in college will no longer be part of the calculation
- There are new rounding rules for each intermediate value and the final result (carried to three decimal places)
- The SAI can be negative down to -$1,500
- There will be no need to prorate the SAI for enrollment periods other than nine months
- A different index will be used to determine Pell Grant eligibility
So, what doesn’t change? The basic structure of the formula is unchanged and there will still be a need to look up values in various tables as we do today. Even so, we encourage you to get in some practice ahead of the 2024-2025 award year so you can be the best resource possible for your students and their families. Federal Student Aid (FSA) has held two webinars on this topic (one for dependent student calculations and one for independent student calculations) and you can view the recordings here if you missed the live sessions. For more information about all the coming changes visit FSA’s FAFSA® Simplification page in the Knowledge Center.
Follow the Higher Education Assistance Group Blog for a preview of other changes coming as part of FAFSA® Simplification. If we can help your office through this transition, let us know! Email email@example.com to speak with a regulatory expert.