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FAFSA Changes for 2024-2025

FAFSA Application Opening Will Be Delayed

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, is undergoing a major overhaul and update for the 2024-2025 academic year that will result in a delay of the opening of the application until December 2023.

These changes are being made due to the FAFSA Simplification Act , passed by the U.S. Congress in 2020. The result will be changes in the processes and systems used to award federal aid including the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility. In addition, there will be changes to terminology, procedures and to the form used for applying for aid.

When Will the FAFSA Open?

The FAFSA typically opens on Oct. 1 but this year families will have to wait until sometime in December 2023 to apply for federal financial aid for the fall 2024-spring 2025 academic year. An exact date has not been provided by the U.S. Department of Education. This delay does not impact federal aid for spring 2024. The current FAFSA covers spring 2024 aid.

What You Can Do Now to Prepare?

Students and parents can prepare by making sure they have their FAFSA login information and 2022 income tax information available. The FAFSA requires “prior, prior” year income tax information for completing the application.

What is Changing with the New FAFSA?

The changes coming due to the FAFSA Simplification Act are designed to streamline and simiplify the application process. Some of the changes include:

The maximum number of questions on the FAFSA will be reduced from 108 to 46. Based on your answers, you may have even fewer questions.

On the current FAFSA, families have the option to enter their tax information manually. With the new 2024-2025 FAFSA, all individuals on the FAFSA must provide consent for the U.S. Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This will allow automatic transfer of tax information into the application reducing time to complete the application and the number of questions to be answered.

Currently, the FAFSA uses Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as an index number to determine eligibility for aid. With the new FAFSA, Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the EFC. SAI will utilize a new need analysis formula that may be a negative number down to -1500, and implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.

"Contributor" is a new term being introduced on the 2024-2025 FAFSA. It is anyone who is required to provide information on a student's FAFSA form (such as parent, stepparent, spouse). Answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors will be required to provide information.

Contributors will receive an email informing them that they've been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don't already have one) to provide the required information on the student's FAFSA.

Being a contributor does not mean a person is financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

Currently, for dependent students, the parent the student lives with the most over the previous year is responsible for submitting the FAFSA. With the 2024-2025 FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.