FSA Announces Changes to FAFSA and FSA ID for 2018-19

By MorraLee Keller, Director of Technical Assistance

Our colleagues from Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced anticipated changes for the FAFSA and FSA ID at their annual conference in Atlanta last week. The changes, which appear to make the filing and processing of the FAFSA a better experience for students, include:

  • If families make any changes to their information, the ISIR will notify colleges which fields were changed. Currently, the financial aid office has no way to know which fields were changed.
  • Applicants will no longer be asked if they filed an amended tax return and will be allowed to use the IRS DRT. If the filer has an amended form, the ISIR will have a code indicating that the filer has an amended form on file.
  • Parents or students who indicate they “will not file” a tax return will be able to use the IRS DRT process to confirm they did not file and will not need to get a non-filer verification statement from the IRS.
  • The definition of “youth” will be extended to students up to age 23 when answering the “at risk of being homeless” questions. The financial aid administrator will no longer be the person required to declare this status for students ages 22 and 23.
  • A “mobile responsive app” will be developed for the FAFSA so that it will be easier to complete on a mobile device.
  • Filers will be linked to the College Scorecard to explore college information when they log in to complete a FAFSA.
  • State agencies will receive all colleges listed on the FAFSA in school code order.

In addition to the FAFSA changes, FSA plans to modify the FSA ID in the Spring of 2017. These changes include:

  • Adding an SMS/Text option for password and username retrieval. The 30-minute waiting period will be eliminated when students use challenge questions to retrieve these items.
  • The “Significant Date” question will become optional.
  • The question linking to the PIN will be eliminated, as PINs have all expired and the questions be no longer relevant.
  • The “age 13 or older” question will be removed.
  • Text boxes will be on different lines and outlined in black to increase the visual impact.

NCAN applauds FSA for these anticipated changes. Many of these ideas were expressed by our members as possible solutions to improve the user experience and reduce the issues with establishing an FSA ID and/or retrieving FSA ID info. NCAN recommends that our members review the presentations from this year’s FSA conference to enhance your knowledge about other federal updates.