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FAFSA Simplification

2024–2025 FAFSA Simplification Information and Updates

Beginning in the 2024–2025 aid year, the U.S. Department of Education will introduce the FAFSA Simplification Act, which aims to streamline the financial aid application process for students and families. As the 2024–2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process will be significantly different from previous years, we’ve provided some details below to help you navigate your financial aid.

What’s Changed for the 2024–25 FAFSA Form?

FAFSA Release Date

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now available for you to complete. Applicants may experience a waiting room feature, and users who go online during a temporary pause should check back later to complete the form.

When Schools Receive Your FAFSA

The Department of Education announced that student’s FAFSA submissions will not be provided to their selected colleges until March 2024 at the earliest. This date is also subject to change.

Benefits of FAFSA Simplification

  • Less questions and the form will be streamlined
  • A more user-friendly experience
  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
  • Reduced barriers for certain student populations*
*Includes homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds.

Changes to the 2024–2025 FAFSA and Financial Aid Process

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming aid year typically becomes available on October 1st. However, for the 2024–2025 academic year only, the FAFSA will not be available until December 2023. The exact date in December is yet to be determined.
  • The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI), which is a different way to determine eligibility.
  • Tax information will be directly imported into the FAFSA.
  • 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.
  • Students will be able to list up to 20 colleges/universities on the FAFSA.
  • Each Contributor (student, student’s spouse, parent(s), and/or stepparent) will have to provide consent to complete the FAFSA. If any contributors do not provide their consent, the SAI will not be calculated, and eligibility for financial aid cannot be determined.
  • Parents without a Social Security Number will be able to apply for an FSA ID. This will speed up the FAFSA processing time, as they’ll be able to submit the form online rather than having to print, sign, and mail it in.
  • 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 for the student rather than the parent the student lived with the most.
  • Students who are considered independent due to homelessness or qualifying dependency override no longer need to recertify their dependency status each year unless their situation changes.
  • When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm.

FAFSA Terminology Changes

Contributor: A new term introduced on the 2024–25 FAFSA form, Contributor refers to anyone asked to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form (i.e., the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse). FAFSA Privacy Act Consent: Formal consent provided by an applicant and any applicable contributor(s) for a given FAFSA cycle (e.g., December 2023 to September 2025 for the 2024–25 FAFSA form) that meets the statutory requirements of collecting and using an individual’s personally-identifiable information. 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. Family Size: Replaces the term “household size” on the FAFSA form. Federal Tax Information (FTI): The data and information related to federal tax paying. It includes a return or return information received directly from the IRS or obtained through an authorized secondary source such as the U.S. Department of Education. Student Aid Index (SAI): Replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a formal evaluation of a student’s approximate financial resources to contribute toward their postsecondary education for a specific award year.

FAFSA Assistance

We are here to assist you through the financial aid process. Whether you need help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or just have general questions, the Start Strong Center is here to help.