FAFSA Simplification

Huge changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming 2024-2025 aid year! The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships wants to help ensure that you and your family have a full understanding of these changes and what you can do to prepare for completion of the 2024-2025 FAFSA. 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available by December 31, 2023. Schools will begin receiving FAFSA forms by the end of January 2024.

What does this mean for you?

The 2024-2025 FAFSA process is going to look a bit different than it was in the past. Don’t worry, we’re here to help keep you informed! The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal financial aid. This includes the FAFSA form, need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available by December 31, 2023. Schools will begin receiving FAFSA forms by the end of January 2024. To prepare for the FAFSA, you can set up your FSA ID. Each contributor will need their own FSA ID. A contributor is anyone who contributes information on the FAFSA (i.e., the student or parent(s)).

What’s Changing on the 2024-25 FAFSA?
  • Normally the FAFSA becomes available October 1st each year, but the 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available by the end of December 2023.
  • There will be two-step verification and all FAFSA contributors must have an FSA ID to log into the online form. There will be a new process to get an FSA ID for parents and spouses without a Social Security number.
  • You’ll notice fewer questions when completing the 2024-2025 FAFSA and an easier way to transfer tax information directly from the IRS.
  • With the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI) – this is a new need analysis formula that we will use when awarding need-based grants and scholarships. The new need-analysis formula:
    • Removes the number of family members in college from the calculation,
    • Allows a minimum SAI of -$1,500,
    • Implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants based on federal poverty levels and family size.
    • The Custodial Parent on your FAFSA will be the parent(s) who provided you with more financial support, instead of the parent(s) with whom you lived more during the past 12 months.
    • Families who own a small business/farm that also serves as primary residence will now have assets of that business/farm considered in their need-analysis calculation.
Who is a FAFSA Contributor?

Contributor is a new term being introduced on the 2024–25 FAFSA form. A contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA. A contributor could be the student, student’s parent (biological or adoptive), step-parent, or spouse. Questions on the FAFSA will be used to identify contributors.

Being a contributor does not mean that they are financially responsible for the student’s educational costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.

Which parent is the contributor for a dependent student if divorced or separated?

Students who are considered dependent for financial aid purposes must provide financial information for the parent and step-parent (if applicable) who provided the most financial support to the student during the past 12 months.

Which parent(s) are listed if parents are unmarried, but living together?

For parents of dependent students that are unmarried, but who live together, both parents will be contributors on the FAFSA.

When is a spouse a contributor?

The spouse of a dependent student’s parent will be a contributor if the parent and their spouse were not married in 2022, but were married at the time the FAFSA was completed or if the parents were married in 2022 but filed their 2022 federal income tax returns separately.

The spouse of an independent student will be a contributor if the student and their spouse were not married in 2022, but were married at the time the FAFSA was completed or were married in 2022 but filed their 2022 federal income tax returns separately.

What can you do now to prepare?

Create an FSA ID

Anyone who is a contributor on the FAFSA must have an FSA ID. An FSA ID can be created at any time. It can take up to a week before an FSA ID can be used to complete and electronically sign the FAFSA.

For contributors who do not have a social security number, the Department of Education will be providing steps to create an FSA ID. This information will be available when the 2024-2025 FAFSA becomes available.


Resources

What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

What’s Changed for the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form? (Video)

Federal Student Aid Estimator