By Rick Cox
FAA Access – the web tool used by financial aid administrators to access multiple administrative functions – has changes ahead for 2024-2025. Definitions, new and existing systems and more will be affected this year as an easier FAFSA gets ready to debut.
- The Student Aid Index replaces Expected Family Contribution. Other Financial Aid replaces Estimated Financial Assistance.
- There will no longer be an auto zero EFC or a simplified needs formula.
- For 2024-2025, V1, V4 and V5 will be in place. Initially, the Department of Education will conduct random selections. The department will need to collect data and analyze it to establish verification going forward.
- FAA Access will be integrated with FSA’s Partner Connect system.
- FSA will publish a draft of FAFSA Specifications in spring 2023 and a final in summer of 2023.
- The Central Processing System is being retired and replaced with a new modern processing system, the FAFSA Processing System. The re-engineering of the processing system will allow for FSA to make changes that support aid eligibility and the verification process. The new FPS will be implemented for the 2024-2025 award year. In addition to changes for Federal Updates for 2024-2025, changes will be made to DHS match requirements. As stated in the Federal Update, we should expect some changes in the 2024-2025 award year related to verification categories, especially related to income. Because the changes in FPS can no longer retrieve and/or view the raw Federal Tax Information, FSA has created a new module that will be responsible for retrieving IRS Federal Tax Information, or FTI. This module will be responsible for performing all processing that uses FTI. FTI data will be shared on the ISIR and will be accessible by FAA Access through the new FTI Data View application. This system will be separate from FAA Access.
- The SAI replacing the EFC on the ISIR will be the number that determines students’ eligibility for certain types of federal student aid. The 2024-2025 ISIR should include the SAI, intermediate values, and a new maximum and minimum Pell indicator. The SAI will range from a -1500 up to a capped 99999. There will no longer be an auto zero EFC or Single Needs Testing Flags. Federal Work Study is required in the determination of the SAI calculation, but it is not a field on the FAFSA application; therefore, earnings for 2022 will need to be entered into COD. Federal Work Study will be available to view in FAA Access and will appear on the ISIR. If the amount of Federal Work Study entered into COD has to be updated, then we should expect to see a revised ISIR reflecting the corrected amount. The goal is to have a draft 2024-2025 FAFSA issued by the end of the year for review.
- Roles will be introduced to the 2024-2025 FAFSA related to the student, spouse, parent and parent’s spouse. The applicable person’s role will dictate the questions to be completed on the FAFSA. The demographic information being collected will expand to capture all applicable roles – Full Name, Address, Email Address and Telephone Number. If income information isn't available through the new IRS transfer tool (DDX), the applicable roles will have to enter the information on the FAFSA.
- In the 2024-2025 award year, a student will be able to complete the FAFSA process and receive an SAI without entering parent data. These students would not have a payable SAI until the college verifies that the student meets unusual circumstances, formerly referred to as a Professional Judgment – Dependency Override. At this point, we’re not sure how this will be represented on the ISIR, i.e., we don’t know yet if this will be a flag set on the ISIR or a C-Flag that requires resolution.
- The FAFSA Processing System implementation will change some of the output from the system related to edits. FPS will no longer set assumptions on the ISIRs, and rejects and highlights will be reviewed to determine any modifications required, and all Comment Codes must be reviewed and revised to align with the new system.
- NOTE: DHS matching will change in 2024-2025 with the end of Secondary Confirmation through DHS. If the student fails the DHS match, you will move straight to the SAVE process. The department will not conduct a secondary confirmation.
- FAA Access functionality will change in the 2024-2025 award year, with administrators no longer able to submit the original or Renewal Application. However, you can still make corrections, perform overrides and do Professional Judgments for special and unusual circumstances. FAA Access will continue to support verification identity results and request ISIRs.
Rick Cox is Global’s Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance