FAFSA Simplification

FAFSA Simplification

In an effort to simplify the financial aid process you will see a new FAFSA for 2024-2025, this is part of what is known as FAFSA Simplification. We are learning more about the changes every day and will do our best to bring you updates as we have them. To start, you can read about why the changes are being made, and what changes are being made on the Federal Student Aid Website to learn about FAFSA Simplification.


Visit the Federal Student Aid Website



What is important to know right now?

  • The new 2024-2025 FAFSA soft launched on December 31, 2023
  • FAFSA information started to be shared with schools in March 2024
    • Due to delays aid offers did not begin until Mid-May
    • Schools have been unable to send corrections for students who require data changes; we are awaiting additional guidance at this time to move forward
  • The CSS Profile was still available like usual on October 1 for students and families to apply
    • Only new incoming students or students who have had a drastic change in finances need to submit the CSS Profile
  • You can make corrections to errors on certain parts of your submitted FAFSA to correct mistakes you may have made

What is changing for 24-25?

  • You can use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to get an estimate of your Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • There will be some new terms used throughout the FAFSA
  • Every Contributor (including those without SSN’s) on the FAFSA will be required to use a FSA ID  to complete the FAFSA (not just one like before)
    • Contributors with SSN’s and no current FSA ID can set up their FSA ID now to be ready when the FAFSA opens
      • If you have an existing FSA ID you do not need a new one, but you should make sure you remember your password and that you have two-factor authentication set up
    • Contributors without a SSN were not able to get an FSA ID in the past and they will now be able to
      • **There is currently an issue preventing contributors without a Social Security number (SSN) from starting or accessing the 2024–25 FAFSA**
  • The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) was previously prorated for student’s who were enrolled in a single semester (not a full academic year) and summer. When congress passed legislation updating federal financial aid rules, they did not make a provision for the Student Aid Index (SAI) to be prorated for single semesters, and the full-year SAI will be used in the need calculation regardless of the period of enrollment. While we are hopeful they will pass an amendment adding this provision, it has not yet been done.

What are the benefits?

  • A more streamlined application process
  • Expanded eligibility for federal financial aid
  • Reduced barriers for certain student populations
  • A better user experience for the FAFSA form

But how does this all impact me?

Besides timing, these changes may have no impact to you at all! Below are some common questions that may come up regarding FAFSA Simplification that we put together to help. If you still have questions, as always feel free to reach out!

Have your 2022 tax documents handy when starting the FAFSA. It is important to note that each contributor can complete only their part of the FAFSA (student or parent). The second contributor will receive an email to login and complete their part once the first contributor is finished and invites them.

You can also use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to get an estimate of your Student Aid Index (SAI).

As of June 2024 we have been able to make aid offers in our ConnectCarolina system, however, schools cannot send corrections for students who require updates to data for verification, or changes to records. If we collected documentation from your To-Do list, and you do not have an offer yet, it is because we cannot send corrections to complete your aid offer at this time as we are waiting on the Department of Education to let us know that we can move forward to send corrections to complete the aid offer.

Yes, you can now make corrections to your submitted FAFSA form. Visit the Federal Student Aid site for step-by-step instructions and to learn more about the types of changes you can make. Students can make corrections on their mistakes or errors at this time, schools cannot. Keep in mind, if you already have an aid offer, and make changes, it may cause the school to need to verify information and schools cannot submit corrections, which may cause you to have to wait for an updated aid offer.

If you are a senior graduating in the fall, or student starting in the spring. Or if you plan to enroll next summer, how aid is calculated will be different for you with the change to the rules to no longer prorate the student aid index to calculate need for periods of enrollment. While we are hopeful this may change in the future, it hasn’t yet, so we want to be sure that you are aware of the changes, so you can make informed decisions. As an example, if you are a full-time in-state student, attending both fall and spring, with a SAI of 5000, we would calculate your need as:
Cost of Attendance (COA) $27,036 – Student Aid Index (SAI) $5000 = $22,036 Calculated Need (the amount we can offer you in financial aid) 
If you plan to graduate in the fall and only be enrolled in the fall, your calculation becomes:
Cost of attendance (COA) $13,518 – Student Aid Index (SAI) $5000*= $ 8518 Calculated Need (the amount we can offer you in financial aid) 
*under the old legislation we could have used half of your SAI offering $2500 more in need-based aid.
You can submit the 2024-2025 CSS Profile to get an estimate of aid. Keep in mind the estimate does not represent a final determination or actual offer of financial aid.
The estimate will not include any offered academic scholarships you were given at admission, athletics scholarships you are expected to receive, or outside scholarships you expect to receive.
You should only do this if you wish to be considered for need-based financial aid, as there is a $25 fee to complete the CSS Profile application. You can use our net price calculator to determine if you qualify for need-based aid. Need-based aid includes a combination of grants and scholarships (free money) and subsidized or UNC loans, and work-study. If you don’t see those items listed in your net price calculator results, you would not be eligible for need-based aid so you don’t need to do the CSS Profile.

We have programmed the net price calculator to give an estimate based on the new formula using SAI for 2024-2025. Keep in mind this is an estimate, it is as accurate as the information you put in. The loan amounts you are given will be based on a first-year student, so they may vary for our returning students using the calculator. The calculator will not show Covenant aid for returning Covenant students, so if you are a Covenant Scholar know you will continue to be.

*As of June 2024 all returning students who apply for aid who do not need to have verification data entry done will get aid offers in the system

Admitted students with FAFSAs and CSS profiles that do not require additional information or processing will get aid offers in MyCarolina starting in late April. Admitted students who have FAFSAs that require reprocessing, or that require our office to collect additional information in our system, ConnectCarolina, that is not yet ready for processing due to critical updates, will not get confirmation of receipt of FAFSA until mid-May. We appreciate your patience as we wait for these required steps to offer aid.

Due to the delay, admissions has extended their decisions deadline to May 15. As the deadline approaches if you feel you do not have aid that best represents your financial situation please reach out and communicate with our office so we can best assist. We appreciate your patience as we navigate the new FAFSA. 

Our goal is to get aid information to returning students as quickly as possible. We plan to begin releasing aid offers or requesting additional information for our returning students who have completed the FAFSA by late May.

Who is my parent on the FAFSA for 2024-2025?

I heard that it is different for next year, how do I know for sure which parent to use next year? Good news, you can use the below questions to simulate the FAFSA questions to tell you which parent(s) should be used on the FAFSA. On the FAFSA , the “parent” is the your legal (biological or adoptive) parent.

  • Are your parents married to each other?