The New Student Aid Index

Financial aid teams are moving toward implementation of SAI, which replaces EFC. SAI will be used in the determination of a student’s eligibility and was a featured topic at NASFAA’s recent conference closing session.

By Rick Cox

Here are important items to know about the new Student Aid Index:

  • FADDX is used for the FAFSA as well as Income Driven Repayment Plans and Total and Permanent Disability discharges.
  • For Title IV awarding purposes, financial aid administrators should treat a negative SAI as 0.
  • The state of legal residence for a dependent student will be the parent’s state of legal residence.
  • Financial aid administrators will use one of three formulas in determing eligibility: A – Dependent students; B – Independent student without dependents other than a spouse; and C – Independent student with dependents other than a spouse.
  • There will be no more proration of SAI for periods other than 9 months. The calculated SAI (or 0 if negative) is used regardless of the award period length.
  • There is not a simplified needs formula for the SAI. However, some applicants will still be exempt from reporting assets.
  • If the student qualifies for Minimum Pell, financial aid administrators will still use the calculated SAI for awarding all other Title IV aid.
  • The department will no longer publish Pell Payment Charts. Students will receive either Maximum Pell, Maximum Pell minus SAI (rounded to the nearest $5), or Minimum Pell.
  • When using fractions, multiply first and then divide.
  • If the scheduled Pell award for the student exceeds the Cost of Attendance, you will reduce Pell to the COA. Do not round, but truncate cents.
  • Beginning in 2024-2025, the student does not have to be at least half-time for year-round Pell purposes.
  • IASG and Children of Fallen Heroes will now qualify to be paid Pell, based on the Pell calculation, when the student qualifies for those grant programs because they are not eligible for Pell based on the SAI calculation.
  • The Department of Education will publish a high-level summary of 2024-2025 issues and implementation of new requirements.

The department has posted a draft SAI and Pell eligibility guide to help the financial aid community with the transition from EFC to SAI. You can find the guide here.

Rick Cox is Global’s Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance