Mapping Your Future: New financial aid terms to add to your vocabulary


New financial aid terms to add to your vocabulary

By Catherine Mueller

January 04, 2024

With the release of the new 2024-25 FAFSA, our vocabulary is being expanded.

Students and parents may want to become familiar with the following new terms:

Contributor – Anyone who contributes to a student’s FAFSA, such as the student, the parent(s), or the student’s spouse.

FAFSA Submission Summary – The output document provided to a student, summarizing all the data input on the student’s FAFSA form.

Federal Tax Information (FTI) – The data and information related to federal tax paying.

FTI Approval – Formal approval granted by any FAFSA contributors for the Department of Education to retrieve and use FTI to calculate financial aid eligibility.

Primary Parent – In cases of divorce or separation, the primary parent is the parent who provides the most financial support to the student. The primary parent (and if remarried, the step-parent) will contribute information to the student’s FAFSA.

Student Aid Index – Measure of a family’s ability to pay for a student’s education. The student will receive the Student Aid Index (SAI) after completing the FAFSA. Colleges and universities will use the SAI in calculating financial aid offers.

Unusual Circumstances – Specific unusual circumstances (as outlined in the FAFSA) that allow an otherwise dependent student to submit a FAFSA without parent information. The student will receive a provisional SAI and the financial aid office will determine whether the circumstances justify making the student independent for calculating financial aid.