Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Student Aid Index (SAI)

Because you are applying for one or more "need-based" scholarships through the South Madison Community Foundation, you are required to complete a FAFSA. This document is also required if you wish to apply for any federal student aid so it is in your best interest to complete the FAFSA at your earliest convenience. YOU NEED ONLY COMPLETE IT ONE TIME BY CONNECTING TO:


Once the FAFSA application is complete, students will receive a confirmation email including their estimated Student Aid Index and Pell Grant eligibility.

The financial resources available to help fund postsecondary education is one of the factors considered by SMCF’s selection committee for every need-based scholarship. In order to be considered for any of these awards, you must complete our application and submit the one-page Student Aid Index (SAI)* in a PDF document to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The dollar amount of aid eligibility as reported on the SAI will determine the scoring curve for the criteria of need. The SAI is considered personal and confidential and will be the only financial information seen by the selection committee and will be used only during the selection process.


*What is the Student Aid Idnex (SAI)?  (As excerpted from the website)

"The EFC has been renamed the Student Aid Index (SAI) to better reflect that this number is an indicator that colleges can use to determine the need level for the student.

More Pell Grants: The new form and process will mean more students qualify for Pell Grants—nearly 15% more students, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The maximum award amount for 2024-25 is $7,395 – that’s a lot of money for one year of college that doesn’t have to be paid back!

Second, the Better FAFSA will increase the number of students with lower family incomes who are eligible to receive a Pell Grant. The US Department of Education estimates that that the new FAFSA will increase Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%. The maximum Pell Grant will automatically become available to students from households earning less than around twice the federal poverty level for their household size. The maximum Pell Grant award for 2024-25 is $7,395 – that’s a lot of money that doesn’t have to be paid back!"

To determine what type of SAI you should receive and when you should receive it, visit