Introducing Simpler Access to
Federal Student Aid

Streamlined process. Fewer barriers. Expanded eligibility.

FAFSA Changes

Changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are making it easier for Mississippi State students and their families to get the financial aid they need to pay for college.

Thanks to the FAFSA Simplification Act, the new FAFSA application introduces several new features to help students and families apply for financial aid more efficiently, including:

  • Significantly fewer questions to answer.
  • Expanded integration with the IRS Direct Data Exchange, reducing the time applicants spend manually entering their tax information.
  • Expanded eligibility criteria for aid, increasing the number and amounts of aid students may receive.

It is now easier than ever to apply for the financial aid you need to pay for college.

To learn more, visit

**2024-2025 FAFSA changes are being implemented by the U.S. Dept of Education. Information on this webpage is subject to change as new information becomes available.

Current Key Changes

Opens December 2023

The 2024-2025 FAFSA opens December 2023.

SAI Determines Aid Eligibility

Use this SAI Estimator to see how your aid eligibility may change.

Fewer Questions

Less questions to answer on the FAFSA

Consent Required

All parties must give consent to be eligible for Aid

Overview Infographic

infographic of text on page

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Overview Video

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Steps to Complete the FAFSA

(To be provided)

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What’s changing with the FAFSA?

The number of questions is being reduced from 108 questions to 46 questions.

Unnecessary complications are removed making it easier for students and their families to complete the FAFSA.

A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, all persons listing tax information on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. Consent from all parties must be given for the student to be eligible for aid.

An FSA ID will be required for every person (student, spouse, and parent) who provides tax information on the FAFSA.

There is no benefit to having siblings in college.

Families are now required to report the value of their farm(s) or business(s), if applicable as assets.

The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation will be changing. For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAFSA Simplification represents an historical overhaul of the FAFSA process that includes modifications to the FAFSA form, Award decisions, and backend processes and procedures. The goal is to make FAFSA easier for students and their families to complete while increasing the number of students eligible for aid. More information on this process can be found at

Benefits include:

  • Streamlining the application process.
  • Expanding eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Removing barriers for specific student groups, such as homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds.
  • Enhancing the overall user experience when filling out the FAFSA form.
  • Expansion to more languages.

FAFSA Simplification simplifies the FAFSA application process by making it more efficient and user-friendly. This means reducing unnecessary complexity and making it easier for students and their families to apply for federal student aid.

FAFSA Simplification removes barriers that certain student groups face when applying for federal student aid. This includes homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds. The changes aim to make the FAFSA process more inclusive and equitable for these individuals.

SAI (Student Aid Index) will replace EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) as the formula used to determine eligibility. The new formula will simplify things by not considering how many family members are attending college, ensuring a more individualized approach. SAI also allows a minimum of -$1,500, making aid more readily available to those with very low incomes. Additionally, Federal Pell Grants will have specific eligibility criteria to target aid where it's needed most. These changes aim to make the financial aid process easier to understand and more accessible for students and families.

A contributor refers to anyone providing information on a student’s FAFSA, such as a parent or guardian. This does not include third party preparers. The student’s portion of the FAFSA determines whether a contributor (if any) will be required to complete parts of the FAFSA, as well as who the contributor is.

Being a contributor does NOT imply financial responsibility for the student or their education.

Consent from the student and their contributor(s) is required for the student to be considered for aid. Consent allows the FAFSA to pull information directly from the IRS database to complete the FAFSA.

If a student or their contributor(s) don’t provide consent on the FAFSA, the student will not be considered eligible for any federal aid. There is no exception to providing consent.

If you are a resident of Mississippi, you can apply for state aid at, beginning October 1, 2023.

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