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FAFSA Simplification

For the - financial aid year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form will be changing. Because the FAFSA Simplification Act of 2020 passed in December, here is what will be changing:

Completion Date

The - FAFSA® form is available as of January 1, 2024, instead of the usual October date. This change only applies to the - financial aid year, and the following FAFSA® forms will be made available in October like usual.

Simplified Application Process

Starting with the - FAFSA® form, there will be fewer questions and requirements of students. Tax information will also be retrieved directly through the IRS, rather than the IRS Data Retrieval Tool used in previous years.

Added Terminology
  • New to the - FAFSA® form is the term contributor. This term refers to any person who is required to provide information on a student's FAFSA form. This includes the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or the parent's spouse. It is important to note that being a contributor does not imply financial responsibility for the student's costs.
  • The previous formula used to determine need, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). This new SAI number can be negative, unlike the EFC.
  • The document summarizing a student's outcome of the completed FAFSA® form (formerly known as the Student Aid Report) will now be called the FAFSA Submission Summary.
Expanded Eligibility

The new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculations will result in expanded eligibility for students to receive a Federal Pell Grant.

Other Changes
  • For students with separated or divorced parents, the contributing parent is determined by which provided a greater amount of financial support during the 12 month period prior to filling out the FAFSA® application. This does not necessarily mean the parent with which the student has been living with.
  • All contributors (as defined in the new terminology) must consent to have their tax data sourced directly from the IRS. If consent is not given, then the student will not be eligible for financial aid through the FAFSA.
  • Family-owned businesses and farms are now considered assets.
    • Resources to help determine asset value may include but are not limited to an assessor, balance sheet, local market value, tax return, accountant, USDA Extension office, Small Business Administration, USDA Rural Development, and/or other means.
    • BHSU will not advise a family on what method to use or advise on what the value could be.
  • The number of family members attending college will no longer be taken into consideration when determining financial aid, though the question will still be asked.



The - FAFSA became available.


Spring 2024


Financial aid offer notifications are emailed to students who have been packaged.


Summer 2024


The Student Financial Aid Office will continue to process FAFSA data as it is received and will send communications regarding missing items or needed action.

How to Prepare

Before starting the - FAFSA® form, students should create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID ahead of time. By going to the Federal Student Aid website, students can create their own FSA ID, as well as provide assistance for any contributors in creating theirs. The FSA ID is an account on the FSA website that also acts as a signature for related documents.


FAFSA Simplification Act

What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

Additional FAFSA Change Information

Still have questions?

Contact the BHSU Student Financial Aid Office:

Contact Info

Student Financial Aid Office
Woodburn 114 Map
Phone: 605.642.6145

Black Hills State University
1200 University St. Unit 9670
Spearfish, SD, USA 57799-9670