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2024-25 FAFSA Changes

Major 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.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available on December 31, 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 Department of Education has indicated that students will be able to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA by December 31, 2023.

What's changing with the FAFSA?

There are several benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).

Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students won't even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. The data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered. 

A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (such as a parent/stepparent 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 notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the 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.

Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities, the 2023-24 FAFSA will allow a student to send a copy of the FAFSA up to twenty (20) colleges.

Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

New students who plan to begin classes at AHC in the summer or fall of 2024 should complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available on December 31, 2023. 

Incomplete 2024-25 FAFSA's will be purged within forty-five (45) calendar days of its creation if not resolved and/or submitted. Please make sure your original FAFSA is resolved within 45 days, or you will have to start the FAFSA process from its very beginning.  

  • An FSA ID (account username and password) required to access the FAFSA form:
  • A roles-based FAFSA form
    • Roles = Student (Applicant), Parent, and Preparer
    • Once all required data has been provided and all sections have been signed, any role can submit the FAFSA form
  • Introduction of contributors to the FAFSA form
    • Contributors = Parent, Other Parent, Student Spouse, and Student (when invited by Parent or Preparer)
    • Contributors must provide the required information and sign their respective section for a FAFSA form to be considered complete
  • Integration of the FAFSA form into’s Dashboard, Status Center, Notification Center, and Settings
  • The general look and feel of the FAFSA form
  • Integration to allow users’ federal tax information to be retrieved and transferred directly into the FAFSA form via IRS direct data exchange, replacing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  • Replacement of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI)
  • Required consent from users to
    • retrieve and disclose federal tax information,
    • be eligible for federal student aid, and
    • be eligible to receive an SAI.
  • Predictive search results for questions that require city, state, or school lookup
  • Students, parents, and preparers may begin, complete, and submit a new FAFSA form for the 2024–25 FAFSA processing cycle.
  • Dependent students must invite their parent(s) to contribute to their form if parent information is required.
  • Independent students and a dependent student's parent must invite their spouse to contribute to the student’s form if spouse information is required.
  • Students and contributors must provide consent to retrieve and disclose federal tax information from the IRS for the student to be eligible for federal student aid.