A guide to the new FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will experience some big changes this year as part of a government change called the FAFSA Simplification Act. Below is a guide that will help you understand the changes. In addition, you can always contact Washburn's Financial Aid Office by calling 785.670.1151 or emailing financialaid@washburn.edu.

Washburn also will host drop-in FAFSA Completion Sessions from 4 to 6 p.m. on the following dates. There will be a scholarship drawing for students attending the event who come to Washburn:

Mabee Library Room 206B

  • May 15
  • May 29

How the FAFSA Simplification Act affects you

Last updated: May 2, 2024

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and is the largest change to the financial aid process that we’ve seen in over 40 years. This includes changes to the FAFSA form, how financial aid eligibility is determined, changes in terminology, and updates to many policies and procedures that Washburn University must follow.

Students smile and look at a computer screen.

When will the 2024-2025 FAFSA be available?

The FAFSA is now open but still experiencing some issues during this "soft launch" period. The Department of Education is working to correct these issues in the coming weeks. Known issues and workarounds, if available, can be found on this website.

Washburn began receiving FAFSA information at the end of March and notified those that the University has received a FAFSA form of the next steps. Our financial aid team is here to keep you informed and help you through the process.

To fill out a FAFSA, visit studentaid.gov. If you have already submitted your 2024-25 FAFSA and realized that you left information off or need to make changes, the correction process is now open. Details of how to make corrections can be found at the Student Aid site.


When should I submit the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

Students who plan to attend Washburn University in the fall of 2024 or spring 2025 should complete the FAFSA prior to the May 1 priority deadline (If you have not submitted the FAFSA by this date and still need help, please contact our Financial Aid office) to ensure the student receives as much financial aid as possible. The Department of Education is still working on known issues with the FAFSA website. Federal Student Aid will not begin to send FAFSA results to schools until mid-March.

What’s changing with the FAFSA?

There are a number of proposed benefits to the FAFSA Simplification Act, including an easier application process and better user experience, expanded access to Pell Grants and other need-based aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations, such as homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds.

Changes include, but are not limited to:

The maximum number of questions on the FAFSA will be reduced from 108 to just 36. If you fill out the FAFSA online through studentaid.gov, you may not even be presented with all 36 questions! This is designed to help simplify the FAFSA and hopefully make it less scary for students and families.
One of the biggest changes in the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC), with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This change was made to better describe the number used to determine aid eligibility. Unlike the EFC, which went as low as 0, the Student Aid Index may be a negative number, down to -1,500.
The Student Aid Index will differ from the Expected Family Contribution in that the number of household members attending college at the same time will no longer be considered when determining your financial aid eligibility. This could mean that undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in the types of aid they get.
Some students may qualify automatically for a maximum or minimum Pell Grant amount based upon their family size and adjusted gross income in comparison to the federal poverty level. Some students may qualify for a maximum Pell Grant amount based upon tax filing status. Others will have their Pell Grant amount determined by their Student Aid Index.

When required to report assets, students and families must now report the net worth value of their small business or family farm.  To determine the net worth, first identify the current value of all land, buildings, equipment, etc. owned as part of the small business or family farm. Next subtract the amount of any current debts owed against these same items.

If the family's primary residence is in the small business or on the family’s farm, the current value of the residence and current debt against the residence should both be excluded when determining net worth.

The online and paper FAFSA will continue to be offered in English and Spanish only, however any student or FAFSA contributor who needs translation resources and support when completing the FAFSA can contact the FSA Information Center at 1.800.433.3243 for help in another one of the 11 most commonly spoken languages in the United States.
Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. Consent must be granted even if you did not work during the tax year the FAFSA is requiring. In a small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data themselves, but for most, the data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change will help simplify the FAFSA and reduce the number of questions. If any contributor (student or parent(s)) does not grant consent, the FAFSA will be invalid, and the student will not be eligible for financial aid until consent is granted by all contributors.

A new term being introduced on the 2024-2025 FAFSA is a "contributor," or anyone required to provide information on a student’s form. This can include parents, stepparents, or spouses. A student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. After receiving an email confirming that person's role as a contributor, they will need to log in using their own FSA ID to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.

Being a contributor doesn't mean you are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean that the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA. If they don't, the application will be considered incomplete, and the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid.

For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. Under the new rules, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student in the last 12 months prior to completing the FAFSA.

For more information about which parent(s) information is required on the FAFSA, use the "Is my parent a contributor" chart.

Students may now list up to 20 colleges on the FAFSA.
A FAFSA is considered complete when the student and all required contributors have each submitted their section. If a FAFSA is incomplete, all previously submitted sections and started but not submitted sections will be deleted from the system and the FAFSA would have to be started again. The 45-day timeframe can be restarted by going to a FAFSA page that has the Save button on it and clicking Save. Deletion of inactive FAFSAs will not begin until after the soft launch period is over.

What other financial assistance is available at Washburn?

Financial incentives

Financial incentives can help make a Washburn education an incredibly affordable choice for students, whether they are from: 

Shawnee County
Northeast Kansas
Southwest Kansas
U.S. states outside of Kansas


You may be eligible for a variety of university, departmental and academic scholarships. First-time freshmen and transfer students alike are awarded GPA-based merit scholarships automatically, with awards totaling up to $20,000 for first-time freshmen and $12,000 for transfer students.

University scholarships


Our new scholarship-matching tool, ScholarshipUniverse, is an excellent resource for easily matching up with the best external scholarship opportunities.



Financial Aid Office
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone & Email
Ph: 785-670-1151
Fax: 785-670-1079

back to top button