How is the FAFSA changing if you have 2 kids in college?


Q. For the first time, I will have two kids in college at the same time. I heard they are changing the way FAFSA looks at you when you have two kids. What’s the deal?
— Dad

A. We can feel your pain as you anticipate those tuition bills.

There are some big changes coming to the FAFSA, but not until the 2024-2025 school year.

The form will be simpler and with fewer questions, an increase in financial aid for low income families and a new formula that makes grandparents’ college funds have a lower impact on student aid eligibility, said Jim McCarthy, a certified financial planner with Directional Wealth Management in Rockaway.

Unfortunately, as you noted, there will also be another formula change that would reduce financial aid for middle- and upper-income families with more than one child in college at the same time, he said.

The Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, is a number that colleges use to determine how much need-based financial aid they will offer, he said.

“The current formula allows the family to divide the EFC by the number of students attending college,” he said. “The new formula will not allow families to divide the EFC, which will lead to a higher EFC and reduce or eliminate potential need-based financial aid.”

Also note the EFC will get a new name. The calculation will be called the Student Aid Index, or SAI.

McCarthy offered this example of how things will change. Imagine a family has an EFC of $30,000 with two children attending college at the same time, and the annual cost of college of $30,000 for each child. With the current formula, the family would receive $30,000 in need-based financial aid but with the new formula, the family would receive nothing.

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on Nov. 2, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.