A Better FAFSA Process Means a Better Future for Everyone
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Education is creating an entirely new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2024 – 2025 academic year?
This is going to be the biggest change to the FAFSA in 40 years!
When will the 2024-2025 FAFSA be available?
Because the upcoming changes are so significant, the FAFSA won’t be released on October 1 as it normally would be. Instead, the federal government will be making the FAFSA available in December 2023.
The FAFSA will return to its regular schedule on October 1, 2024 for the 2025 – 2026 academic year.
The FAFSA is being updated and streamlined to improve access with far fewer questions. For most students, the number of questions is being reduced from more than 100 to just 36.
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The Student Aid Index is a number ranging from -1,500 to 999,999. Colleges will use the SAI to determine what types of financial aid a student may receive. The lower the number, the greater the opportunity to qualify for need-based aid.
A student, parent, stepparent, or spouse who provides information on the FAFSA is now called a contributor.
As part of completing the FAFSA, all contributors (students, parents, stepparents, or spouses) will be asked to provide consent to the IRS to share their federal tax information. If consent is not provided by every contributor, the student will not be eligible for financial aid.
Depending on how they filed their taxes, both parents may be required to provide consent. For married parents who filed joint federal tax returns, only one parent needs to provide consent. For married parents who filed separate federal tax returns, both must provide consent. In this situation, both parents will be required to obtain an FSA ID.
The consent process replaces the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
The FSA ID is required for all FAFSA contributors. For contributors without an SSN, a means will be provided to obtain an FSA ID. The FSA ID can be obtained at https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id.
For students whose parents are separated or divorced, the parent on your FAFSA will be the parent who provides you with the most financial support. It is no longer the parent with whom you lived the most over the past 12 months. If that parent has remarried, the stepparent’s information must also be reported.
Students will be asked to report their sex, race, and ethnicity on the FAFSA itself, but students will be offered a choice of “Prefer Not to Answer.” Colleges and states won’t see your responses to these questions.
Families who own a small business or farm will now have to report the net worth of that business or farm as an asset.
The number of family members enrolled in college at the same time will no longer be considered. For some current students, this may reduce their eligibility for financial aid.