Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Navigating FAFSA Changes for 2024-2025

The FAFSA application for the academic year 2024-2025 is undergoing substantial changes due to the Simplification Act, which became law on December 27, 2020. This legislation is designed to simplify and enhance the financial aid application process.  Subsequently, this year the 2024-2025 FAFSA opens in December 2023. 


Key FAFSA Changes

Transition from Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to Student Aid Index (SAI)

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI) in the federal financial aid process. The SAI serves as the new measure of a student's eligibility for federal financial aid programs. Unlike the EFC, which can be as low as $0, the minimum Student Aid Index will be -$1,500.

Expanded Eligibility to Federal Pell Grants

The FAFSA Simplification Act will significantly broaden the eligibility criteria for Pell Grants, resulting in a much wider range of students who qualify for this financial assistance.

Direct Income Data Retrieval

The Act mandates the utilization of IRS data to streamline the application process. Income data will be directly pulled from the IRS, reducing the need for manual income reporting. 
Contributors and Consent Every contributor—whether it's the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or the parent's spouse—must obtain an FSA ID to access and complete their respective sections of the online FAFSA form. Additionally, all contributors are required to provide consent and approval for the direct transfer of their federal tax information into the student's FAFSA form through a direct data exchange with the IRS. If any contributor fails to provide this consent, the submission of the FAFSA form will still be allowed; however, without the necessary consent, a Student Aid Index (SAI), replacing the Expected Family Contribution, will not be calculated, making the student ineligible for federal student aid.
Number of Family Members in College While the FAFSA will still inquire about the number of family members in college, it will no longer factor into the federal, state, and institutional financial aid calculations.
Questions removed Questions related to Selective Service registration and drug convictions will be eliminated from the FAFSA, simplifying the application.
Inclusion of Demographic Information Demographic questions about applicants' sex, race, and ethnicity will be included on the FAFSA, although they will not influence federal student aid eligibility, starting in the 2023-24 academic year.


*Find detailed information and updates at FAFSA Simplification Act Changes for Implementation in 2024-25

How can I get started now?

Prepare for the 2024-2025 FAFSA by following these steps:

Create an FSA ID:

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website  to create your FSA ID.
  • If you're a dependent student, encourage your parent(s) or spouse to create their FSA IDs as well. They will need these IDs to assist you with the FAFSA process.

An FSA ID is your personal account and password that grants you access to Federal Student Aid's online services. It also serves as your electronic signature, allowing you to complete various financial aid-related tasks.

Note: If you already have an FSA ID from a previous year, you don't need to create a new one; your existing FSA ID will remain valid.

To estimate your federal financial aid for the 2024-2025 academic year, visit the Federal Student Aid website and use the Federal Student Aid Estimator tool. This online tool calculates your Student Aid Index (SAI) and provides an estimate of the federal financial aid you may qualify for. It's a valuable resource to help you plan for your educational expenses and ensure you're prepared for the upcoming academic year.

For any questions, please contact the financial aid office at

Gulf Coast State College does not discriminate against any person in its programs, activities, policies or procedures on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. All questions or inquiries regarding compliance with laws relating to non-discrimination and all complaints regarding sexual misconduct or discrimination, may be directed to Lee Wood, Executive Director, Human Resources/Title II/504/Title IX Coordinator and Employment Equity Officer, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. US Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401.