The FAFSA Simplified: ED to Phase In Big Changes

The Department of Education has posted an electronic announcement on its implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act, which passed on Dec. 27, 2020, and will result in an overhaul of federal student aid. Changes will affect the FAFSA form, as well as many policies and procedures for colleges that participate in Title IV programs.

The following components of the FAFSA Simplification Act will be implemented for the upcoming award year:

• Repeal of SULA requirements (150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limits). We will post more information on this topic in an upcoming blog.
• Elimination of the loss of Title IV eligibility related to drug convictions that occur while a student is receiving Title IV aid
• Removal of the requirement that male students register with the Selective Service to receive federal student aid

More changes, such as replacing the EFC with a Student Aid Index (SAI), eligibility for Pell for incarcerated students, and reducing the number of questions on the FAFSA, are forthcoming, and ED will provide information later on these changes.

To access the department’s announcement on beginning the phased implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act, click here.

Removal of Selective Service & Drug Conviction Requirements

ED has also posted information on the changes for Selective Service registration requirements and suspension of eligibility for drug-related convictions that occur while a student is receiving Title IV aid. ED will issue a notice in the federal register in the next few days, and institutions may implement these changes as early as the date of the federal register.

These questions will be removed from the FAFSA for the 2023-2024 award year and the option to register for Selective Service on the FAFSA will also be removed. They will remain on the FAFSA for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. However, schools can ignore any resulting comments related to these two items and students will no longer lose eligibility for Title IV aid as a result of these items. For the 2022-2023 award year, ED will include language in the Comment Codes that says no further action is necessary on the part of the student or institution.

For 2021-2022, schools may – but are not required to – go back and reprocess, package, or award aid for ISIRs they received for 2021-2022 before the implementation date unless requested by the student. ED intends to email students directly who have 2021-2022 ISIRs before the implementation date and were determined to be ineligible based on answers to Selective Service and drug conviction questions. The email will let them know about the change in the law and their potential eligibility and instruct them to contact their institution’s financial aid office.

To access this announcement, please click here.