Understanding the new FAFSA aid application

Understanding the new FAFSA aid application


This year brought important changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a crucial document that determines eligibility for various financial aid programs. Navigating these updates is essential for students and their families as they seek financial support for higher education.

The streamlined FAFSA form, which now includes 36 questions, has been accessible since December 31, 2023, but Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) won’t be transmitted from Federal Student Aid (FSA) to colleges and universities until the first half of March 2024.

What does this all mean for students and parents? Marymount University’s Office of Financial Aid has provided a summary below of the information you need to know before you navigate the new form.

Family size and number in college

The number of dependents claimed on the prior-prior year’s tax return will now determine a student’s family size. The number of children in college will no longer be used in the FAFSA calculation.

Small business and family farm net worth

The net worth of a business with less than 100 full-time employees and family farms must now be included on the FAFSA and will be used in the FAFSA calculation.

IRS tax and income information

Students (and parents, if dependent) will now be required to consent to FSA to retrieve federal tax information using the secure Direct Data Exchange. This information will be used in the FAFSA calculation.


A contributor is any person who must create a FSA ID to log into a student’s FAFSA to give consent for the IRS Direct Data Exchange and sign the FAFSA. This includes:

  • The student
  • At least one parent, if dependent
  • The other parent, depending on marital and tax filing status
  • Student’s spouse, if married
  • FAFSA preparer, if applicable

Parent on the FAFSA

For dependent students whose biological/legal parents are not married and/or living together, the biological/legal parent who provides the most financial support should be the parent of record on the FAFSA. If that parent is remarried, that parent’s spouse should also be included on the FAFSA.

FAFSA outcomes

The FAFSA calculation will now produce the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI can range from -1500 up to 999999. This will be used to determine federal student aid eligibility.

Impact on the federal Pell Grant

The Pell formula has been completely redesigned to broaden eligibility. The Pell amount will now be determined by the actual courseload rather than an enrollment category. Now, there are no enrollment requirements for students to receive up to 150 percent of their annual Pell award within a single award year.

Got questions?

Marymount University’s Office of Financial Aid is fully equipped to efficiently process your student aid applications as soon as FSA releases the information to the University. We are also here to help if you have any questions throughout your pursuit of higher education – please contact us at faid@marymount.edu or 703-284-1530.