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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Academics & Research

FAFSA delayed until December, UH extends priority deadline

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid form will be opening in December, a delay from its usual opening date of Oct. 1.  

The FAFSA Simplification Act that Congress passed in 2022 will enact starting in the 2024-2025 fiscal year. Due to the changes, UH has extended the priority deadline to March 15, 2024. 

“The FAFSA changes will only allow more students to become financial aid eligible, which is a great thing,” said UH Scholarship and Financial Aid Program Manager Lauren Garcia.

The act includes revisions to the FAFSA, alterations to the need analysis for federal aid qualification, modifications in terminology and changes in policies for schools that use federal student aid programs. 

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The EFC Index will be replaced by the Student Aid Index, this has redesigned the formula that determines how much aid a student is eligible for. 

The SAI will remove family members in college from being considered in the calculation, which would allow for a negative contribution of up to 1,500 and will no longer include eligibility for Federal Pell Grants in the calculation. 

Access to Federal Pell Grants

Eligibility for Pell Grants will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level and will be expanded to a larger number of students. 

Students whose families fall below 175% and single parents who fall below 225% of the federal poverty level will automatically qualify for the highest aid in the Federal Pell Grant amount.

IRS Direct Data Exchange

Everyone who fills out the form must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information from the IRS directly. Previously, students had the option to manually the data. 


The new form has expanded their application to include 11 languages previously that was only limited to English and Spanish. Additionally, the form will reduce the number of questions to 46 from 108, making it a faster process. 


Students and all contributors to the FAFSA must have a Federal Student Aid ID to complete the form.

In cases of divorced or separated parents, the FAFSA will be completed by the parent who contributed the greatest amount of financial support during the previous calendar year.

Many undergraduate students at the UH rely on the FAFSA to get financial aid in order to pay for their tuition.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 79% of UH undergrad students received financial aid in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. 

“Without financial aid I wouldn’t have been able to go to university here because I’m an out-of-state student,” said health sophomore Niyda Pancho. “I was even offered work-study with my financial aid package which has helped me make more money so I can pay off my tuition.”

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