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Student Financial Aid

FAFSA Simplification

The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has several changes due to FAFSA Simplification, an act from Congress to make federal aid more accessible for students. As you prepare to apply for federal aid, the Office of Student Financial Aid is here to help you navigate the process.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is Periodically Open

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is currently available for short periods of time and then closed for maintenance as part of a soft launch. If it is temporarily unavailable, check back on another day.  

Due to the soft launch, the best time to complete your FAFSA will be in February before the March 1 priority deadline for first-year students.

Award Packages

Delays from the simplified FAFSA rollout have created national impacts for colleges, universities and students. Because of these impacts, 2024-2025 award packages will not be available until early April for first-year students and June for continuing students.

FAFSA Data Delivery is Delayed

The Department of Education has announced that institutions will not receive any FAFSA submission data until mid-March. 

While students should still fill out their FAFSA form now, Clemson will not receive the information needed from the Department of Education to package students for financial aid until this date. 

We understand that these delays can make the college decision process challenging, and we will continue to update all students, families and stakeholders as information becomes available.


FAFSA Changes for 2024-2025

While many things about the FAFSA will remain the same, there are specific changes to expect, beginning on the 2024-2025 FAFSA: 

  • The application process is anticipated to be streamlined and include fewer questions.
  • Tax information will automatically be transferred from the IRS to the FAFSA form through a Direct Data Exchange. 
  • Additional consent is required from FAFSA Contributors to sign off on a student's federal aid application.
  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) number is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to determine federal aid eligibility.

Additional Info

  • FSA ID

    A Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, also known as a account, grants students, contributors and borrowers access to federal financial aid services. 

    How do I create an FSA ID?

    To create an FSA ID, visit If you have previously filled out a FAFSA form or you have a dependent who has filled out a FAFSA, you likely already have an existing FSA ID and do not need to create a new one. 

    What is needed to create an FSA ID?

    When you set up your account, you will need the following information:

    • Full legal name
    • Date of birth
    • Mailing address
    • Email address
    • Mobile phone number

    Make sure to use an email address that you will have ongoing access to, as you will have the same FSA ID forever. 

    Who needs an FSA ID?

    Students and FAFSA contributors will each need their own individual FSA ID. This means that each account created must have a unique email and phone number associated with it. 

    What is the FSA ID used for?

    The FSA ID is used as identification when signing and submitting the FAFSA. When creating an FSA ID, you will elect to provide (or not provide) your consent for your tax data to be electronically exchanged between the IRS and the Department of Education. 

    An FSA ID can also be used to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete loan counseling for students who accept offered federal loans. 

  • FAFSA Contributors

    A contributor is any individual required to provide information, consent and approval on a student's application for Federal Aid. FAFSA contributors can include:

    • Student
    • Student's spouse
    • Parent(s), biological or adopted
    • Parent's spouse (i.e., step-parent)

    How are FAFSA contributors determined?

    As you fill out the 2024-2025 FAFSA, your responses to questions on the aid application will determine which FAFSA contributors must provide their information, consent and approval.

    Please note: FAFSA contributors are not responsible for providing financial support for a student's college expenses.

    Do contributors need their own FSA ID?

    Yes! Every FAFSA contributor will need to create their own FSA ID

    Both the student and the FAFSA contributor will need a separate FSA ID connected to different email addresses. 

    What if a contributor does not have a Social Security Number (SSN)?

    FAFSA contributors without an SSN will have access to create an FSA ID to provide their consent and approval on the FAFSA form. For more information, view this guide for creating an FSA ID without an SSN.

    Please note: FSA has an active Issue Alert for contributors without a Social Security Number. At this time, contributors without an SSN are not able to start a new FAFSA form on the student's behalf or contribute to an existing form. FSA is working to resolve this issue. 

    When will a contributor provide their approval?

    FAFSA contributors will receive an email notifying them they have been identified as a contributor when the student submits their FAFSA.

    What if a contributor does not provide consent?

    The student will not be eligible for federal aid such as the Pell Grant, Work-Study or Direct Loans.

  • IRS Direct Data Exchange

    The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will no longer be offered on the 2024-2025 FAFSA, as it has been replaced with the Direct Data Exchange.

    The Direct Data Exchange automatically transfers student and contributor tax information from the IRS to the Department of Education and connects to the student's FAFSA form.

    As with the previous FAFSA, exchanged tax data will be from taxes filed two years prior (i.e., the 2024-2025 FAFSA uses 2022 tax information).

    When students and contributors create an FSA ID and sign the FAFSA, they consent to their tax data being electronically exchanged. 

    Note: there may be instances where manual entry of income and tax information may be required in certain cases. Students and FAFSA contributors will automatically be prompted to enter information if Direct Data Exchange is not applicable. 

  • Student Aid Index (SAI)

    The Student Aid Index (SAI) number results from information provided on the FAFSA. It is used to determine the amount of federal aid a student is eligible for. 

    The SAI will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

    Students will receive their SAI through the FAFSA Submission Summary, a document received after completing the FAFSA. 

    The Department of Education determines the Student Aid Index Number (SAI) through a need-analysis formula calculated from information provided on the FAFSA.

    With FAFSA Simplification, this formula calculation has changed:

    • Students can now receive a negative SAI number.
    • Small businesses and family farms are now considered assets in determining financial need. 
    • The number of family members in college will be excluded in calculating financial need. 

Our Commitment


The Office of Student Financial Aid is committed to offering accurate aid packages within the applicable law as determined by the United States Department of Education.

Please remember that FAFSA Simplification also includes unprecedented changes for Financial Aid professionals, which may delay processing times.

Students and families are encouraged to engage with the resources provided by Federal Student Aid. As additional information about FAFSA Simplification becomes available, the Clemson Office of Student Financial Aid will continue to update students, families and partners. 

FAFSA Timeline

2024-2025 FAFSA Timeline
Date Action

End of December

The 2024-2025 FAFSA periodically opens on December 31 for a soft launch.

End of January

Students should start filling out the FAFSA.

March 1

FAFSA priority deadline for first year students.


Clemson begins receiving and processing batches of FAFSA data from the Federal Government for submitted FAFSAs.

April 1

FAFSA priority deadline for continuing students. 

Early April

Financial aid packages released for first-year students.


Financial aid packages released for continuing students. 


Pell Grant Eligibility

The adjustment to the need-analysis formula calculating the Student Aid Index (SAI) number will impact Federal Pell Grant eligibility for students. While eligibility is expected to expand with this new calculation process, some students may lose eligibility if their SAI is greater than the Maximum Pell Grant amount. Please note: the Maximum and Minimum Pell Grant amounts have not been announced for the 2024-2025 academic year. 

Not Eligible for Pell Grant – SAI is greater than the Maximum Pell Grant amount.

Maximum Pell Grant Eligibility – SAI is negative or 0.

Calculated Pell Grant Eligibility – Maximum Pell amount minus SAI equals Calculated Pell Grant amount.

Minimum Pell Grant Eligibility – Determined by adjusted gross income, tax filing status and poverty level guidelines for family size in state of residence.