FAFSA Simplification

2024-2025 FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

2024-2025 FAFSA Available NOW!

Federal Student Aid has released the 2024-2025 FAFSA form. Students should complete the form as soon as possible. Students and families who need to make corrections to their FAFSA can now do so! Some students and families may experience issues while submitting the FAFSA and/or when attempting to make corrections. A list of these issues and any available workarounds or resolutions has been posted on the Federal Student Aid 2024-2025 FAFSA Issue Alerts webpage.

What isn't changing?

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.

  • For CCU undergraduate students, institutional need-based aid (Chant/Bronze) will continue to be determined by the FAFSA.
  • The general types of aid available to CCU 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.
  • The questions regarding an applicant's sex, race, and ethnicity will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. (In fact, CCU won't even receive this data from the FAFSA.)

When should I submit the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

Students who plan to attend CCU in the fall of 2024 should complete the FAFSA as soon as they are able to access the site. Students/families who need assistance with completing the form can reach out to a financial aid counselor at (843) 349-2313 or finaid@coastal.edu to schedule an appointment (virtual or in person) for assistance.

When will CCU send aid offers?

We plan to begin sending aid offers within the timelines listed below to students who are admitted to CCU and have completed the aid application process. However, these dates are subject to change as we receive new information from our software providers and the Department of Education.

Admission Round/Student Type

Admissions App Deadline Admission Decision Notification Enrollment Deadline Financial Aid Offers Begin*
Early Decision (ED) October 15 December 1 January 15 April
Early Action (EA) November 15 December 15 May 15 April
Regular Decision (RD) February 1 March 1 May 15 April
Transfers Rolling Rolling June 1 April
Readmit/Readmit Transfers/Second Degree Rolling Rolling   Mid-June
Returning Undergrads N/A N/A N/A Mid-June
LIFE Program N/A N/A N/A Mid-June
Graduate Students Varies by Program Varies by Program N/A April

* Financial Aid package notifications for new students will require completed financial aid files.

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:

  • 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 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 CCU 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.


CCU's Office of Financial Aid 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.