Important Financial Aid Update

As seasoned financial aid experts, we’re dedicated to leading you through this transition with assurance. Financial aid packages are set to be distributed in April, ensuring comprehensive coverage for the upcoming academic year. At Savannah State University, we’re your trusted partners in financial planning. Whether you require assistance with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form or seek clarification on financial aid matters, our expert team is poised to support you at every stage. Your academic success remains our foremost priority, and we’re steadfast in our commitment to navigating this journey alongside you.

Thank you and rest assured, we’re here to provide unwavering support throughout your educational endeavor.

The 2024–2025 FAFSA® form is now available at You can complete the form to apply for financial aid to help pay for attendance at college between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. The Department of Education may initiate pauses for site maintenance and make technical updates as needed to provide you with a better experience.

As we embark on the journey toward higher education, we want to ensure that you have the tools and resources needed to make the process as smooth as possible. One crucial step in this journey is creating your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. Your FSA ID is the key to accessing and managing your federal student aid information securely. It serves as your electronic signature for the FAFSA® and allows you to:

Your contributors will each need their own account too, which should also be created before they enter the FAFSA® form. “Contributor” is a new term on the 2024–2025 FAFSA® form—it refers to anyone (you, your spouse, your biological or adoptive parent, or your parent’s spouse) required to provide information on your FAFSA® form.

As a student, you’ll be required to enter your Social Security number (SSN) to create a account unless you’re a citizen of the Freely Associated States. However, beginning with the 2024–2025 FAFSA® form, your contributors who don’t have an SSN can create a account to complete their section of your FAFSA® form.

If a contributor has an SSN, you’re required to provide this number when inviting them to contribute to your FAFSA® form. Do not indicate that a contributor doesn’t have an SSN simply because you don’t know that number. If they do in fact have an SSN, indicating that they don’t will cause delays when they try to create an account and contribute the required information on your form.

Creating your FSA ID is a quick and straightforward process, click here for instructions on how to create an FSA ID. For those who do not have a Social Security number, please click here for instructions on how to create an FSA ID. If you do not have a Social Security number and prefer information in Spanish, click here for guidance on creating an FSA ID.

What’s New

The 2024–2025 FAFSA® form expands eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants, and provides a streamlined user experience. 610,000 new students from low-income backgrounds will be eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants due to updates to student aid calculations. Plus, applicants will be able to skip as many as 26 questions, depending on their circumstances. Some applicants could answer as few as 18 questions, which could take less than 10 minutes.

Be prepared so you can complete your form in one session. You might need the following documents as you fill out the 2024–2025 form:

*Starting with the 2024–2025 form, you’ll be able to provide consent and approval to have most of your financial information imported directly from the IRS, but you should keep your tax return handy for additional questions.

Learn more about what you need to fill out your FAFSA® form. If you gather these things in advance, you’ll be able to complete and submit your form quickly. Any contributors you invite to your form will need to provide the same information for themselves.

To invite contributors to your FAFSA® form, you’ll be asked to provide their

To avoid issues with your FAFSA® form, list contributor information exactly as it appears on their Social Security card or legal identification card. Avoid using numbers or extra spaces when entering their name. If the contributor has a suffix in their name (e.g., John Paul Jr., or John Paul III), leave that out of the invitation. Also, if they have a account, make sure the personal information you enter exactly matches the information they provided when creating their account.

When you fill out the FAFSA® form, you’ll answer questions that will determine who needs to be a contributor on your form. However, you may be able to identify your contributors now to get a head start on collecting the information you’ll need to invite them to your form.

To find out if your parent(s) will be a contributor on your FAFSA® form, check out the Is My Parent a Contributor When I Fill Out My FAFSA® Form? infographic.

For more updates, please visit

Tips for Filling Out the FAFSA® Form

We strongly recommend that you (the student) start the form and complete your section first to save time and prevent errors.

When you fill out the student section, you’ll answer questions to determine your dependency status and if anyone else, such as your parent(s), must contribute to your form. If you don’t start the form first, or if you and your contributors are working in your form at the same time, your contributors may have more difficulty completing their section or may even spend time providing information that’s not required.

Starting the form first will also prevent data entry mistakes, such as your parent accidentally entering their own information when they should be entering yours. Once you’ve completed your section, be sure to send invitations to all contributors to your form before saving and exiting.

There’ve been major updates to the FAFSA® form for the 2024–2025 award year, and many questions and definitions have changed. When filling out your form, read each question and definition carefully.

Use the help text and help articles (accessible via the question mark icon) embedded in the form if you’re not sure how to answer a question. Changing your answers to questions that impact your eligibility for aid may create errors in the form. If you change your answer to any of the following questions, you may need to delete your form and start over to fix the error.

Review your answers prior to submission.

Protect against form glitches or typos by reviewing all of your answers prior to submission. You can review all of the answers you provided in your section on the review page, which you’ll see before you provide your signature. You can view all of the responses by selecting “Expand All” or expand each section individually. To edit a response, select the question’s hyperlink.

Monitor your form’s status, and don’t forget to submit the FAFSA® form after all of your contributors have signed and all sections are completed.

If you’ve been notified that all of your contributors have signed and completed their sections, and your student section is also complete, you should check the sections of your form to ensure that all questions are answered.

Once your application is submitted, you can view all of the information entered on your form, along with a summary of who contributed to your form, on the Summary page (accessed from the “My Activity” page of the account Dashboard).

If you make a mistake when submitting your FAFSA® form—for instance, if you submit your form without the required contributor information or without your signature—don’t worry. You’ll be able to correct the error as soon as your form is processed in the first half of March. Learn about how to make FAFSA® corrections.

Not sure if your form has been processed? The Department of Education will send you an email once it is, but you can also check the status of your form yourself:

  1. Log in using your account username and password.
  2. Navigate to your account Dashboard.
  3. Select “2024–2025 FAFSA® Form” from the “My Activity” page.

What Happens After You Submit

When you submit your completed 2024–2025 FAFSA® form, you’ll get an email confirming that the Department of Education received your FAFSA®® with preliminary information related to your eligibility for federal student aid. This will include your estimated Student Aid Index (SAI) and estimated eligibility for Federal Pell Grants.

Your FAFSA® eligibility information should be reported to Savannah State University in March, so you will have ample time to fill out the form. Once Savannah State University receives your FAFSA®® information, the Office of Financial Aid will provide you with personalized aid information in April. Until Savannah State University receives your FAFSA® form, we will not be able to answer questions about your aid eligibility or status.

The Department of Education will send you an email when your FAFSA® information has been sent to your selected schools and when you can access your FAFSA® Submission Summary on The FAFSA® Submission Summary will provide your official SAI calculation and Federal Pell Grant eligibility. You can also check the status of your FAFSA® form on in the first half of March.

2024-2025 FAFSA® Updates

FAFSA® Form Changes 2024-2025

 The questions that have been removed from the FAFSA® effective the 2024-25 award year include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. The student’s housing choice
  2. The student’s, spouse’s, and parents’ untaxed income that does not appear on the IRS 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR tax return (such as untaxed payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement saving plans represented by IRS Form W-2 Box 12 codes D, E, F, G, H, and S; housing, food, and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy, and others; etc.)
  3. The student’s interest in Federal Work-Study (FWS) employment
  4. Taxable earnings from need-based employment (such as need-based employment portions of fellowships and assistantships)
  5. Excluded income for the student, spouse, and parents. This includes other income items that have been reported under “Additional Financial Information” on the FAFSA® and excluded from need analysis in prior years (such as taxable combat pay, special combat pay, and cooperative education program earnings). Child support received is still reported but as assets rather than income.
  6. The student’s driver’s license number and state
  7. The highest school completed by the student’s parents. This question now asks whether either parent attended college.
  8. The college degree or certificate a student will be working on when they begin the award year
  9. Whether the student or parent filed IRS Schedule 1
  10. The dislocated worker question
    The FAFSA® Simplification Act specifies which questions can be asked on the FAFSA® and prohibits the U.S. Department of Education (ED) from asking FAFSA® questions that are unnecessary for Title IV federal student aid. 


FAFSA® Contributor Changes 2024-2025

 A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA® including:

  • The student
  • The student’s spouse (if applicable)
  • A biological or adoptive parent; or
  • The spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA®–the stepparent

    The new FAFSA® is student-driven, so that means the student’s answers in their section will determine who will be a contributor (in addition to the student). Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA®. Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA®.

    All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred from the IRS, have their tax data used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal student aid, and allow the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to share their tax information with institutions and state higher education agencies for the administration of Title IV aid. Consent is provided once for the award year and cannot be revoked in that award year. This consent is necessary even if the contributor does not have an SSN, did not file taxes, or filed taxes in another country.

    If a dependent student’s parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will be contributors, will need to have separate FSA IDs, and need to provide consent. Dependent students whose parents filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly only require one parent contributor to complete the FAFSA®. If the student’s parents filed separately, both parents will be considered contributors and therefore need separate FSA IDs, and both must provide consent.

    If an independent student is married and filed separately, both individuals are contributors, must have FSA IDs, and must provide consent for the student to be eligible for Title IV aid.

Parent of Record Starting 2024-2025

 Effective the 2024-2025 award year, the parent of record on the FAFSA® is noted below. You will notice that the parent with whom the student lived the most in the past 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA®, is no longer a criterion in cases of divorced or separated parents. For divorced or separated parents, income and assets are reported on the parent who provides the most financial support even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with the other parent.

Parental Income on 2024-2025 FAFSA®
  • Parents who live together
    Parental income and assets in the case of students whose parents are married and not separated, or who are unmarried but live together, shall include the income and assets of both parents.
  • Divorced or separated parents
    Parental income and assets for a student whose parents are divorced or separated, but not remarried, are determined by including only the income and assets of the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support.
  • Death of a parent
    Parental income and assets in the case of the death of any parent is determined as follows:
    (A) If either of the parents has died, the surviving parent shall be considered a single parent, until that parent has remarried.
    (B) If both parents have died, the student shall not report any parental income or assets.
  • Remarried parents
    If a parent whose income and assets are taken into account under paragraph (2), or if a parent who is a widow or widower and whose income is taken into account under paragraph (3), has remarried, the income of that parent’s spouse shall be included in determining the parent’s assessment of adjusted available income if the student’s parent and the stepparent are married as of the date of application for the award year concerned.
  • Single parent who is not divorced or separated
    Parental income and assets in the case of a student whose parent is not described in paragraph (1) and is a single parent who is not divorced, separated, or remarried, shall include the income and assets of such single parent.”
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Replaced

 The IRS DRT will be replaced with the Direct Data Exchange (DDX).

  •  EVERYONE (students, spouses (if applicable), and parents) will need to consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) imported into the FTI module.
  • To provide consent, the individual will need to access the FAFSA® with an FSA ID that has been matched with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • Federal tax filers will have their tax information imported into the FTI module. No tax income will transfer into the FAFSA®, but tax data will be sent to the colleges listed on the FAFSA®.
  • Non-tax filers must also check the box to consent. When IRS Data is accessed, the process will verify non-filing status.
Benefits to Students, Families, and Borrowers

The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA® form. Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid.

In addition to the SAI, the FAFSA® Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. New eligibility formulas and funding are estimated to increase Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%. Incarcerated students will regain the ability to receive a Pell Grant, and Pell Grant lifetime eligibility will be restored to students whose school closed while they were enrolled, or were subject to a false certification, identity theft, or a borrower defense loan discharge.

Accessibility to the FAFSA® has been expanded to the top 11 languages spoken by English learners in the U.S.- Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Arabic, Korean, Russian, German, Haitian, and Hindi. 

Siblings in College

No benefit for having siblings in college: Previously, the FAFSA® divided the EFC proportionally based on the number of household members in college. The elimination of this “sibling discount” will be the biggest change in aid eligibility for some students. The SAI will not use the number in college as a factor in the calculation of eligibility. As such, Savannah State University students with siblings in college may see a change in their aid eligibility at Savannah State University as well as with the aid received by their sibling(s) at Savannah State University or elsewhere. The determination to no longer consider the number in college was made by Congress and can only be changed by Congress.

Pell Grant Eligibility

Pell Grant eligibility will be determined in three steps:

1. Maximum Pell Grant – Applicants may qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), and poverty guidelines. Students qualifying for a Maximum Pell Grant will have an SAI between negative $1,500 (-$,1500) and $0.

2. Student Aid Index (SAI) – Applicants who do not qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant may still qualify if their calculated SAI is less than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year. The applicant’s Pell Grant award for full-time enrollment will be equal to the maximum Pell Grant for the award year minus SAI. The Pell Grant will be adjusted (prorated) if an applicant enrolls in less than full time, or if the applicant’s Cost of Attendance (COA) is less than the calculated Pell Grant award.

3. Minimum Pell Grant – Applicants whose SAI is greater than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year may still qualify for a Pell Grant, based on family size, AGI, and poverty guidelines.

  • Non- Filers – Independent student (and spouse, if applicable) tax non-filers and dependent children of non-filing parent (s)
  • Children of certain deceased veterans and public safety officers- Students under age 33 whose parent died in the armed forces after September 11, 2001, and or students under age 33 whose parent (s) died in the line of duty as a public safety officer

Automatic Pell Grants based on income household and size: 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 federal poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

Once the annual Federal Pell Grant is determined, half of the award will be offered in each semester of the award year and will be prorated by Enrollment Intensity instead of Enrollment Levels.

Credit Hours Enrollment Level (Old) Enrollment Intensity (New)
12 (or more) Full-Time (100%) 100%
11 Three-Quarter Time (75%) 92%
10 83%
9 75%
8 Half-Time (50%) 67%
7 58%
6 50%
5 Less-Than-Half-Time (25%) 42%
4 33%
3 25%
2 17%
1 8%
Year- Round Pell Grant

Previously, a Pell Grant-eligible student must have been enrolled at least half-time in a payment period during which they received more than 100% of their scheduled award. Beginning with the 2024-2025 award year, half-time enrollment is no longer required.

Family Farms and Small Businesses

 Inclusion of family farms or small businesses: When required, families will now report the value of their farms or businesses. While this inclusion continues to be debated in Congress, it will be required to be reported for appropriate families on the 2024-2025 FAFSA® and can influence the SAI.

Unusual Circumstances

Students with unusual circumstances are defined as:

A student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of unusual circumstances, which prevent the student from contacting parents. These circumstances could include—

  • human trafficking, as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.)
  • legally granted refugee or asylum status and are separate from their parents, or their parents are displaced in a foreign country
  • parental abandonment or estrangement and have not been adopted
  • abusive or threatening environment or
  • student or parental incarceration and contact with parents would pose a risk to the student.

Other students will continue to qualify as independent on their FAFSA® form and are not required to provide parental information if they:

  • Are active-duty military
  • Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Were an orphan, ward of the court, or in foster care at the age of 13 or older
  • Are or were a legally emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student’s state of legal residence or
  • Are a student unaccompanied and either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

Starting with the 2024-2025 Award Year, both first-time and renewal applicants who indicate on their FAFSA® form that they have an unusual circumstance will be granted provisional independent status. They will be able to complete the form without providing parental information. They will also receive an estimate of their federal student aid eligibility, which will be subject to a final determination by the institution they attend. If a student’s institution approves their unusual circumstances, their independent status will carry over when they renew their FAFSA® form in future award years, and they will be considered independent for as long as they remain at the same institution and their circumstances remain unchanged. 

Additional information can be found at