2024-25 FAFSA Changes Summary
The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress 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 aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.
The goal of the FAFSA Simplification Act is to make it easier for students to apply for financial aid. The new FAFSA will require fewer questions about income and will rely on the Direct Data Exchange (DDE) with the IRS for completion of the FAFSA. Among other key changes, this legislation attempts to clarify the questions that will be asked and will aim to increase Federal Pell Grant eligibility. While some could see increased financial aid eligibility, others may see a decrease in aid.
While every attempt to provide accurate and timely information is our goal, due to the significant number of changes occurring there may be changes in timing and how the financial aid process happens this year. We will do our best to update you with necessary information as needed and we appreciate your patience as we all work though the largest FAFSA change in years.
The changes include, but are not limited to the following:
- The 2024-25 FAFSA is scheduled to release in December 2023; however, the exact date is not known. Next year it will likely return to the traditional October 1st date.
- The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a different way to determine aid eligibility.
- Negative Student Aid Index (Negative SAI): the Student Aid Index (SAI) can be a negative number (down to -1500).
- FAFSA Submission Summary: replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR) as the student’s output document providing a summary of data input on the FAFSA form.
- Every contributor—anyone (student, the student's spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or the parent's spouse) who's required to provide information on the FAFSA form—will need an FSA ID to access and complete their section of the online form.
- All contributors must provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred directly into the student's FAFSA form via direct data exchange with the IRS. If any contributor doesn't provide consent and approval, submission of the FAFSA form will still be allowed. However, a Student Aid Index, which replaces the Expected Family Contribution, will not be calculated and the student won't be eligible for federal student aid.
- Students will be able to list up to 20 colleges on their online FAFSA form and 10 colleges on the FAFSA PDF.
- Users can start or access the FAFSA form by visiting StudentAid.gov and logging in, where they'll see the link to the FAFSA form on their Dashboard.
- The number of questions on the FAFSA has decreased from 108 questions to 36.
- Who will need to contribute information on the FAFSA application will be determined when the student completes their portion. If your information is required to complete the FAFSA you will receive an email notification to complete your portion. The FAFSA will not be complete until all contributors complete their portion of the application.
- For students whose parents are separated or divorced, the guidance on which parent income to report has changed to the parent who provides the most financial support to the student, rather than the parent who lives at the student’s primary residence.
- The Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) has been replaced with Federal Taxpayer Information (FTI)
- Parents without a Social Security Number will be able to apply for an FSA ID. This will speed up FAFSA processing time as they’ll be able to submit the form online, rather than having to print, sign and mail their application.
- Male students under the age of 26 are no longer required to register with the Selective Service System to receive federal financial aid.
- SAI will no longer take the number of students in college into consideration. This may reduce need-based aid eligibility for current students with siblings in college.
- The FAFSA Simplification Act expands the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.
- Child support received will be included in assets and not as untaxed income.
- Families who own a small business/farm that also serves as a primary residence will now have assets of that business/farm considered in their need analysis calculation.
For more details and additional information see below.