Watch as Ferrilli’s Susan Kannenwischer and Lindsay Mitchell discuss what FAFSA simplification will mean for your institution, and how to properly prepare for what’s to come.
Beginning in the 2024-25 Award Year, Federal Student Aid will be making significant changes to the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as well as the methodology used to determine student eligibility for financial assistance. These changes are anticipated to benefit students and their families, not only by simplifying the FAFSA application itself, but also by reducing barriers to accessing federal funds for education. These positive changes for financial aid applicants will have monumental impacts for higher education institutions that must start being considered now to adequately prepare for what is to come.
With the passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 Federal budget on March 15, 2022, new Pell entitlement figures have been approved, increasing the maximum Pell grant award $400, to $6,895 for the 2022-23 award year.
While this increase is beneficial for students, it will also require action for Financial Aid Offices that have already begun packaging students for the upcoming year.
Impacts for Previously Award Students
The increase to the maximum Pell grant award may have several impacts to the aid packages of students who have previously been awarded for the 2022-23 award year.
- Students awarded Pell grants will likely see an increase to their award entitlement.
- An increased Pell award may require adjustment to other Federal and institutional awards, as the higher Pell amount will reduce the student’s overall unmet need.
- Depending on the institution’s SIS/ERP packaging configuration and functionality, adjustments to student awards may require software updates and/or manual review and adjustment.
How to Prepare for Updating Student Pell Awards and Award Packages
There are several steps Financial Aid Offices can take to prepare to implement these changes in their SIS/ERP systems and repackage previously awarded students.
- Identify any previously packaged students who received Pell as part of their 2022-23 award package. Since this population will need to be reviewed, identifying the population in advance will allow Financial Aid Office staff to better prepare for award revisions when the SIS/ERP is capable of processing them.
- Monitor communication from your institution’s SIS/ERP vendor indicating what system changes need to be made to accommodate the new Pell entitlements. Generally, this may only require parameter updates for the new amounts but depending on other changes that may have been made to the entitlement grids, software updates may be required as well.
- Monitor communications from the Department of Education regarding the reprocessing of ISIRs to reflect the updated Pell amounts. Even if your software vendor provides guidance/updates for accommodating the increased award amounts, a new ISIR transaction will still need to be received to correctly calculate a student’s award.
- Determine if your institution will make adjustments to any previously awarded institutional need-based aid. In other words, if Pell is increased will your institution decrease its need-based award offer or allow previous amounts to remain unchanged. If the latter option is chosen, this may result in the need to revise Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts in the student’s award package.
- Identify any not yet packaged students with Pell grant eligibility. Excluding these students from the packaging process until the necessary system changes and reprocessed ISIRs have been received will prevent providing inaccurate awards to students and reduce the need for additional repackaging by Financial Aid Office staff.
- Communicate with your students about revisions to their awards. When students and their families see news of these changes due to the approval of the Federal Budget, they may have questions about how they will be impacted and when they will see revisions to their award package. Providing this information preemptively to both students needing revisions as well as student who may have their packages delayed may help to allay their concerns and reduce inquiries to their institution’s Financial Aid Office.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require assistance updating student Pell awards and award packages. We’re here to help!