The makeover is meant to correct the assumption that the calculation equals the amount your family can contribute, as the name suggests. Most families pay more than the EFC amount after taking loans to fill aid gaps. In reality, the EFC (soon to be SAI) is an index number used by college financial aid offices to determine your need for aid.

The information you include on the FAFSA determines your SAI.



Pell Grant eligibility will be expanded.

• Maximum annual grants will be awarded based on family size, adjusted gross income (or AGI) and poverty guidelines. • Students who don’t qualify for the maximum Pell Grant, could still receive funds if their SAI is less than the Pell Grant maximum. • If a student’s SAI is greater than the maximum Pell Grant award, they could receive a minimum grant award if they qualify based on family size, AGI and poverty guidelines. The act also extends Pell Grant eligibility for students who previously received a Pell Grant if they were unable to complete their studies due to the closing of their school or if their loans were discharged under borrower defense to repayment. It also restores Pell Grant eligibility to incarcerated students. APPLICANTS MAY GET MORE NEED-BASED AID Applicants will see their Student Aid Index set to zero automatically if they’re eligible for the maximum federal Pell Grant. The new formula would also allow an SAI of less than zero (negative $1,500). Both changes will allow applicants to receive more need-based aid. 7

The article FAFSA Simplification: 7 Changes to Expect was published on NerdWallet on August 9, 2023. ANNA HELHOSKI is a writer at NerdWallet. TREA BRANCH is a writer at NerdWallet.

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