What’s Changed for the 2024-2025 FAFSA Form?
Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year!
The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.
Grants are funds that do not require repayment. Grants are generally awarded to students with the greatest financial need, which is determined by the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
2024-2025 FAFSA Available in December 2023
New FAFSA Changes 2024-2025
2024-2025 FAFSA Available in December 2023
Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until sometime in December 2023. Updates on an exact date will be posted here when announced.
What's Changing With The FAFSA?
The FAFSA Simplification Act has several benefits, including a more streamlined application process, a better user experience, and expanded eligibility for federal student aid.
Some relevant fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:
- The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly.
The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web has built-in logic, some students will not be required to answer all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process, allowing faster, more accurate submissions.
- The FAFSA will be available in more languages.
The new FAFSA application will expand to include the 11 most common languages as opposed to only English and Spanish.
- Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.
Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-2025, all persons on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. This change reduces the number of financial-related questions required on the FAFSA and increases the accuracy of the information reported, which may minimize the selection of verification.
- Consent is required for tax data transfers.
You can digitally transfer much of the information required for the FAFSA from the IRS, but the transfer requires consent from each application contributor. So, if a spouse or parent needs to fill out part of your FAFSA, they must agree to provide their tax details.Application contributors should get a FAFSA notification requesting their consent. If they don’t agree to have the IRS information transferred, students can still apply for aid, but may not qualify without consent.
- All “contributors” must provide financial information.
Per the Department of Education, the new term “contributor” refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form (such as parent/step-parent or spouse).A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) 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 they are 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.A contributor is anyone who is required to provide information as part of a student’s FAFSA submission. A contributor can be a student’s biological parent(s), step-parent, adopted parent(s), or student’s spouse. The term “contributor” means the individual contributes information to the student’s FAFSA.
- Everyone needs an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA application.
For the 2024-2025 school year, anyone required to fill out part of a student’s FAFSA – including a spouse, parent, or step-parent – must create their own FSA ID and password.The FSA ID provides a digital signature on your application for security reasons. Application contributors can set up an FSA ID on the StudentAid.gov website by providing their birth date, Social Security number, and full name.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Beginning 2024-2025, the term Expected Family Contribution will be replaced with the new term Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500 (lowest SAI).Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an index number used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the information you provide in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Mark Your Calendar for a December Launch Date
Make a note to yourself to start looking for FAFSA launch updates in the fall so you can start the application as soon as it opens.
Remember that the changes referenced above are for the 2024-2025 award year, which is the next academic school year.
The exact launch date of the new FAFSA for the 2024-25 school year has yet to be announced. When it goes live, the application is designed to take you less time to complete than past versions.
If you need help filling out your FAFSA (or have questions during the process), the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) is available by live chat, phone, or email. The office is open during business hours on Monday through Friday, and you can reach the office by phone at 1-800-433-3243.