The changes mandated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act, passed in December 2020, represent a significant overhaul of the federal financial aid process. This report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association uses national- and state-level data to explore and assess how FAFSA simplification will affect specific states, sectors, and subpopulations of students, both in regard to Pell Grant eligibility/awards and state grant eligibility/awards, as well as the unintended consequences of the FAFSA Simplification Act.
The results of the research suggest that at the national level, nearly 220,000 students will gain Pell eligibility in 2023-24, equivalent to a net increase of over $617 million in Pell Grants. Coupled with the changes in Pell Grant awards for previously eligible students, total Pell Grant awards would be expected to increase by approximately $7.85 billion in 2023-24.
While most students will see expanded eligibility and award levels, some uncertainties remain. Students with more than one family member in college may experience increases in SAI relative to EFC, and corresponding decreases in Pell eligibility and award amounts. These students make up some of the approximately 56,600 students that are anticipated to lose Pell eligibility, the report states.