What is the Student Aid Index?

The Student Aid Index is the number a college will use to determine how much financial aid you’re eligible for. It used to be known as the “Expected Family Contribution” or the EFC, but it recently underwent a name change. Here’s a rundown of why the change happened and how the Student Aid Index, or SAI, will work in the near future.

A college student applying for a stimulus check on her phone.

Why the Change from SAI to EFC?

 COVID-19 relief legislation brought some changes to how colleges and students approach financial aid. The FAFSA Simplification Act was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. One of the changes that came with this act was an adjustment to the Expected Family Contribution name.

There was some confusion as to what EFC actually meant. Many believe it’s the amount a family will pay or are capable of paying for college. Additionally, they believe it’s all they have to pay for school.

The name was changed to Student Aid Index (SAI) clears up any issues with the definition and helps families and students make more informed decisions with their finances, loans, and tuition costs.

The name change will be effective starting July 1st, 2023 in time for the 2023 to 2024 school year.

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How Do They Calculate SAI?

They’re introducing a new FAFSA alongside the new SAI. The FAFSA is essential to determine your SAI. The data in the form will calculate the index equaling a parents’ income, a student’s income, and any assets. You will receive a Student Aid Report detailing this information after you complete the FAFSA.

How Will Schools and Students Use the Student Aid Index?

The Student Aid Index, as mentioned before, will help schools and students determine how much financial assistance a student will be eligible before depending on the college they decide to go to. Use this simple equation: cost of attendance minus SAI equals financial need.

It’s important to note that the financial need number you arrive at may be how much you need in order to attend school, it may not equal what you receive from schools or other sources. Colleges and universities may award you grants and scholarships and also may offer you loans, work-study programs, or other options too. It’s an important distinction that the name change will hopefully clear up going forward.

The Student Aid Index

The SAI is not undergoing any major changes aside from the name change. Clearing up any misunderstanding, EFC is now known as the Student Aid Index (SAI).

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