The financial aid process is going to look A LOT different this year. For the first time in decades, there will be major changes to the FAFSA form, language, and formula. Campus Bound will be taking a look at these seismic changes in a five-part blog series over the next few months. Today we’ll review some of the common terms in the financial aid vernacular that will be changing and how these changes affect you, the consumer.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will now be Student Aid Index
Student Aid Report (SAR) will now be FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS)
IRS Data Retrieval Tool will now be Direct Data Exchange Interface (DDX)
Contributor will now be a central term.
The question stands, what is in a name change? We wish it was easy enough to say just the naming convention is changing, but these changes are more than just semantics.
The Student Aid Index is determined using different information than the Expected Family Contribution used. The new formula weighs different components of your household (both physical and financial) differently than before. If you’re looking to estimate your eligibility, please note if you’re using an online calculator that determines your EFC or SAI. To estimate future aid years, you’ll want to use an SAI calculator. We will dive further into all things SAI in a future blog post.
The FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) will be your data output from completing the FAFSA after it’s processed by the Dept of Education. Once it is available, you’ll want to retain this for your records. Historically, many local and national scholarships would ask for a copy of your SAR with your application. Many smaller organizations may not know of the new process, so if you encounter anywhere asking for a SAR, you should now send the FSS.
The way the Dept of Education and IRS exchange tax information will be changing for the next academic year and beyond. This name change, Direct Data Exchange Interface, will coincide with a new backstage process but is important to know as you receive instructions and communication from the schools as they will reference this term.
Contributor is a new term that will be used by the FAFSA to describe anyone who is ‘contributing’ to the integral data of the form. This could be the student, the parent(s), a step-parent, or a spouse if the student is married.
We know that navigating the FAFSA changes will take time, and Campus Bound is here to help you understand all aspects of the financial aid process. Reach out today to schedule a complimentary financial planning consult.