What is FAFSA Simplification?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is what schools use to determine students' eligibility for federal aid. The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed as a part of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act. FAFSA simplification is a process that will bring several important changes to the FAFSA application. FAFSA simplification will take effect for the 2024-2025 FAFSA application.

Read more about the FAFSA Simplification Act here.

What is changing on the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

Here are a few differences students will notice on the 2024-2025 FAFSA.
  • The FAFSA will have fewer questions and be more streamlined for students' user experience. 
  • The parent who signs students' completed FAFSA will now be known as a "contributor" and will need to be given access to sign their student's FAFSA with their own FSA ID.
  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced with something called the Student Aid Index (SAI).
  • There will be revisions to "family size" definitions in FAFSA formulas to better align with what is reported on student and parent tax returns.
  • There will be increased access to federal Pell Grants.

You can also watch a short clip on what is changing in the FAFSA Form. 

What are some important things for me to know?

  • The FAFSA application usually opens on October 1st. However, due to updates with FAFSA simplification, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until December. The Department of Education has not yet determined a date, but we will let students know the release date as soon as we can.
  • The 2024-2025 FAFSA application will be based on the 2022 tax year. Consider gathering your 2022 tax documents so you are ready once the application opens!
  • Curious on what aid you might be eligible for? Use the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Estimator to consider your specific circumstances. 
  • You will also see some new terminology on the 2024-2025 FAFSA.
    • Student Aid Index (SAI): replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a formal evaluation of a student's approximate financial resources to contribute toward their postsecondary education for a specific award year
    • Direct Data Exchange (DDX): system used to transfer individuals' tax information to determine federal aid eligibility (replaces the IRS data retrieval tool DRT). 
    • Contributor: any individual required to provide consent and approval for federal tax information (FTI) along with their signature on the FAFSA form, including the student; the student's spouse; a biological or adoptive parent; or the parent's spouse (stepparent)




  1. The FAFSA has not been signed by both the applicant and the parent using their FSA ID.
  2. Incorrectly entered Social Security number results in a non-match with the Social Security Administration's records.
  3. Both the student and the parent included the student in "Number of Exemptions Claimed" instead of "Number in the household".
  4. The student incorrectly indicates that he or she is in legal guardianship. Legal guardianship is a legal proceeding by which an individual other than a minor child's parent is made responsible for that child's custody and care.  There is a difference between legal custody and legal guardianship.
  5. WWC has not been listed to receive the FAFSA results, therefore we cannot access your information! Our school code is 002979.
  6. The 2024-2025 FAFSA is completed with 2022 federal tax information. 

Here are some further resources for checking your FAFSA:

The Financial Aid Office awards need-based aid, meaning that it is contingent on the results of the FAFSA. Your aid will consist of the Federal Direct Loan (either Subsidized, Unsubsidized, or a combination of both) and work earnings (Federal Work-Study, Federal Work College, or Institutional).  Students may also be eligible for the Warren Wilson College Grant dependent on need as determined by information provided on your finalized FAFSA.

WWC students are eligible to participate in North Carolina and Vermont state grant programs depending upon residency, eligibility, and some states have FAFSA deadlines. 

The Financial Aid Office will discuss this offer and any resulting questions with the student and any parent(s) granted access by the student via the FERPA form provided on their MyWWC portal.  If you have not given us permission to speak with your designees, we will be unable to answer specific questions about your aid.  Please complete your FERPA form ASAP!

In order to finalize their financial aid, students will need to accept or decline any pending aid on the "Accept Awards" tab of the Financial Aid Portal.  Any outstanding forms or documents can be viewed on Financial Aid Portal under the "Pending Requirements" tab.

If a student accepts federal loans, first-time borrowers must also complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling at studentaid.gov.

New Students

Final financial aid offers will be available after the FAFSA is completed and all necessary documentation is submitted and reviewed by the Warren Wilson College Financial Aid Office. Your financial aid offer will be available to review on your Financial Aid Portal. Prior to receiving your actual offer, you can use the Net Price Calculator to generate an estimated offer letter.  

Currently Enrolled Students

All currently enrolled students will receive a notification via email that their financial aid offer is available to view on the Financial Aid Portal once their FAFSA has been submitted and reviewed by the Warren Wilson Financial Aid Office.  Students who do not submit a FAFSA will only be considered for institutional aid.