Important Updates to FAFSA for Students and the EWU Community

September 26, 2023

Big changes are coming to the FAFSA application process for the 2024-2025 school year.

Instead of the application opening on Oct. 1, as in prior years, the federal government is expected to open the process to students and families by Jan. 1, 2024. (Inside EWU will provide updates as the federal government releases more details. Students will also receive email updates from EWU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.)

The changes are part of the 2021 FAFSA Simplification Act, which is intended to simplify the FAFSA process and expand Pell grant access to more families.

Numerous changes will impact students, families and EWU.  The form itself, definitions, formulas, student and family access processes, and the methods of data collection and exchange have all be updated. Because so many changes are happening at once, EWU and the federal government will experience an adjustment curve in working with the new system and processes.

Here’s What You Need to Know:

  • The first financial aid offers for the 2023-2024 school year went out starting on Feb. 9, 2023, earlier than ever! But for the 2024-2025 school year, your offer will be sent later than normal.
  • If you apply for aid, you’ll receive a Student Aid Index (SAI) instead of an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) after submitting your FAFSA. This will be used to determine your aid eligibility.
  • Cost of Attendance components have been renamed, and a few expanded. This should provide more clarity and accuracy for you and your family.
  • Income and tax information will now be directly exchanged between the IRS and the US Department of Education as a result of additional legislation, the FUTURE Act.
  • Pell grant (free money) access is expected to be impacted for some students. Many students will receive more Pell grants, and some will receive less.
  • EWU will now have more options to help you in emergencies and in unique circumstances, such as unusual expenses, income changes and dependency situations.

What You Can Do Now

You and every EWU student should complete the FAFSA application. Why? Students who may not have qualified in the past may now qualify. And, in the event of an emergency, students must have a FAFSA on file to access many types of aid.

  • Make sure you have a FAFSA account, which is officially called an FSA ID. You’ll need your social security number and your personal information, like name and contact information, to create your account.
  • If you can’t complete a FAFSA, Washington residents may complete a WASFA, which is the application for state aid. It’s undergoing major updates, too, but you can create your account today.
  • If you already have a FAFSA or WASFA account, make sure your information is up-to-date!
  • If you’re a dependent student, make sure your parents or guardians have an account. Everyone who provides information on a FAFSA must have their own FSA ID. This applies for families.
  • Plan for the future. EWU’s financial wellness coaches can help you set budgets, navigate options, and access aid and strategies that can make you successful in college.