Sibling Discount for College Going Away in 2024-2025 FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is undergoing a number of changes and revisions for the 2024-2025 academic year. Being released in December 2023, some of the adjustments are making it easier for families and students to be eligible for the Pell Grant. However, in previous renditions of the FAFSA, the Department of Education took the number of family members currently attending college into account. That consideration, or the “Sibling Discount” is going away for the next FAFSA.

How Did the Sibling Discount for College Students Work Previously?

The FAFSA has long been used to determine just how much a family could expect to pay for the student attending college. This was known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). For those with more than one family member attending college at a time, the EFC would be divided by the number of college students in the family. 

So if two siblings were attending college at the same time, the EFC would be divided by two. If the EFC was $15,000 with one sibling, the EFC with two siblings attending college would be $7,500 per student.

This number would then be used to determine financial aid by the federal government, states, and individual schools.

Sibling Discount Ends for College Financial Aid

With the 2024-2025 FAFSA application, however, the EFC and sibling discount are going away. 

The EFC will be replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI) and instead of looking at the family’s income and finances as a whole, the FAFSA will look at the student as an individual instead. This adjustment could make it more difficult for families to afford college if they have more than one child pursuing a degree.

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Don’t Skip Your FAFSA

Even though the FAFSA is undergoing some massive changes and the sibling discount is going away, families shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking the FAFSA won’t grant them anything!

It is first important to note that it will be easier for families to qualify for the Pell Grant. For example, those that make less than 175% of the federal poverty level will receive an automatic Pell Grant for the maximum amount. And under the new FAFSA, it is believed that 42.9% of students previously ineligible for the Pell Grant will now be deemed eligible.

The FAFSA is also used for other grants, scholarships, and awards. Federal student loans, for instance, are only available to students who have completed their FAFSA for that year. And many schools have their own financial aid programs based on demonstrated need. The FAFSA results and the student’s SAI will be sent to these schools, and the SAI will be used to determine if the student is eligible for any of the school’s programs.

And many states have their own grant programs which also use the FAFSA results!

Even if you think you’re not going to qualify for any financial aid programs because of your family’s income, it doesn’t hurt to try. You could be pleasantly surprised! And eligibility requirements change from year to year, so even if you didn’t qualify for any financial aid last year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t this year. Students and their families should always make an effort to complete their FAFSA as soon as possible.

How Else Can You Make College More Affordable?

If you believe you will be negatively impacted by the FAFSA changes, including the disappearance of the sibling discount, it’s important to take action sooner rather than later.

Aside from completing their FAFSA each and every year, students should consider:

  • Applying for scholarships throughout the year even during college
  • Talking to their college’s financial aid department about school programs, state grants, and opportunities
  • Using federal student loans and grants they’re offered including work study programs
  • Applying for private student loans to bridge the gap between

And for families who have children who are not quite yet in college, developing a savings plan can make college much more affordable.

Although it’s frustrating for some families to see the sibling discount go away with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, students and their families should still be prepared to complete their application in December of this year. Submitting your application as soon as possible is always advised as financial aid money can go quickly!

Do you believe you will no longer be able to afford college without the sibling discount? Now is the time to start applying for scholarships to help bridge the gap in your finances. Using our Scholarship Search Tool, you can identify and easily apply to the scholarships you qualify for with less hassle! Get started here for free.


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