FAFSA FAQ


The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available. The FAFSA Simplification Act passed in 2020 represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the FAFSA form, need analysis and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs. In late January, the U.S. Department of Education officially announced a delay in the transmission of FAFSA application information to colleges and universities until the first half of March.  Once we receive the FAFSA data, our Financial Aid office will complete financial aid awards for current and incoming students.

Here at St. Ambrose University, we are dedicated to keeping your college experience affordable and accessible. Rest assured we are staying on top of these changes and will continue to update our current and future students on what to expect.

The Financial Aid office at St. Ambrose University is dedicated to providing timely updates to students, families, and our community. Due to the significant amount of changes that are occurring, portions of our website may not yet be 100% accurate for the 2024-2025 academic year. We'll continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid, and appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.

FAFSA Step By Step

Interactive sessions with Iowa College Access Network

Join ICAN (Iowa College Access Network) for one of these four interactive sessions, select a date below to register.

ICAN advisors will walk through how to complete the FAFSA form step-by-step, and answer questions along the way. From student dependency status to which parent is reported on the FAFSA, we'll cover all the tricky questions about income and assets, explain how the IRS Data Sharing works, and cover next steps once the FAFSA form is submitted.

February 28, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. (central)
March 27, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. (central)
May 15, 2024 at 5:30 p.m. (central)


Watch: Financial Aid and the New FAFSA


Presentation led by:

Julie Haack
Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management
Director of Financial

Greg Geistkemper
Associate Director of Financial Aid

Watch the recorded presentation on Vimeo


It's time to complete your FAFSA

Set yourself up for success: Know what to expect when you start the 2024–25 FAFSA form. This includes logging in, understanding the form, verifying personal information, and providing consent and approval for the transfer of federal tax information.

Know what to expect next

After you’ve completed your FAFSA form, the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid will begin processing your form. You’ll receive a confirmation email with important information, so make sure you review it carefully.

What is FAFSA?

The FAFSA form, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form used to apply for financial aid. Completing the FAFSA form is the only way to access the largest source of financial aid -federal student aid - to help you pay for your education. Students who submit the FAFSA form may become eligible to receive scholarships, grants, work-study funds, and student loans. Schools use the information provided on the FAFSA form to calculate aid packages and then put together an aid offer. It's important to submit a FAFSA form every year you plan to attend college to remain eligible and receive aid.

Watch: What is FAFSA?

What's changing with the FAFSA?

There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).

Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:

You'll need a FSA ID:

Both students and parents must create a Student Aid Account or FSA ID. If parents are married and file their taxes 'married filing jointly,' then only one parent needs an FSA ID. If parents are married and file their taxes 'married filing separately,' they will both need an FSA ID. The Social Security Administration will now require verification of FSA IDs before tax information can be accessed, so applicants will need to allow at least three days for that process to occur. Students and parents must log in to the FAFSA separately to complete their respective sections.

The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly:

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the web is dynamic, some students won't even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

Students may list up to 20 colleges:

Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.

The FAFSA will be available in more languages:

Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-2025 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange:

Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-2025, all persons on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

All "contributors" must provide financial information:

A contributor - a new term being introduced on the 2024-2025 FAFSA - refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. Contributors will receive an email informing them that they've been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don't already have one) to provide the required information on the student's FAFSA. Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC):

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.

The number of household members in college will not be used to calculate SAI:

Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant:

Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed:

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.

Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets:

When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

What is not changing with the FAFSA?

While the FAFSA is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that will not change.

  • The general types of aid available to SAU students and federal student loan limits will not change.
  • The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA will remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you'll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-2025 application. Families with significant reductions in income can consider submitting an appeal.
  • SAU admission application deadlines will not change.
  • The questions regarding an applicant's gender, race, and ethnicity will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, SAU won't even receive this data from the FAFSA.
When should I submit the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

New students who plan to begin classes at St. Ambrose University in the fall of 2024 should complete the FAFSA, which was released Dec. 31, 2023. More information about the application process for undergraduate and graduate students is available on our website.

In late January, the U.S. Department of Education officially announced a delay in the transmission of FAFSA application information to colleges and universities until the first half of March.  Once we receive the FAFSA data, our Financial Aid office will complete financial aid awards for current and incoming students. However, this is subject to change as we receive new information from our software providers and the Department of Education.

Do I need an FSA ID?

Yes!

An FSA ID consists of an account username and password that you create in order to gain access to the U.S. Department of Education's online systems, including StudentAid.gov. An FSA ID can also serve as your legal signature when completing electronic documents.


You'll need your Social Security number (SSN) (if applicable) and your own email address to create an FSA ID.

Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA form, all contributors must create their own FSA ID to access and complete their portion of the FAFSA form. Contributors without an SSN can create an FSA ID. (source)

Contact


Student Financial Services

Ambrose Hall, 1st Floor
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-5775
sfs@sau.edu

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.