The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) soft-launched on December 30, 2023. The new form features significant changes designed to streamline the federal student aid application process which will impact the 2024-25 FAFSA form and beyond. The changes, a result of the 2020 FAFSA Simplification Act which was enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, could impact federal student aid packages. Here are six of the biggest changes and what they will mean for your federal student aid application process.
All Contributors need FSA IDs
On the new form, each person who enters information is called a Contributor and must create a unique FSA ID: which is their StudentAid.gov username and password, to log in and complete their portion of the form. Contributors could include the student, one or both of their parents (biological or adoptive), or the student’s spouse. Contributors may request a new FSA ID on studentaid.gov and may expect a three-day turnaround time after their request. Students will not be able to submit the FAFSA until every contributor has their FSA ID. IRS Directly Imports Tax Information
The new form implements a “Direct Data Exchange” with the IRS through each contributor’s profile. All contributors must agree to allow the IRS to directly import their federal tax information to the FAFSA. The exchange is intended to make it easier for families to fill out the form without having to dig up tax returns and manually enter information, eliminating errors. A student may submit their FAFSA even if a contributor does not consent to this process, however, they will not be eligible for federal student aid.
Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
In previous forms, students and families have used the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a measure of their ability to pay for college. Starting with the 2024-25 award year, applicants will experience a change in the methodology to determine aid amounts. The new need analysis formula does not include the number of family members in college in the calculation and implements separate, expanded eligibility criteria for Federal Pell Grants. The information you include in the FAFSA determines your SAI, which is an index number. Financial needs will be calculated by subtracting your SAI from the school’s cost of attendance.
Expanded Access to Federal Pell Grants
The need-based Pell Grant gives students free college aid with no repayment requirements. The U.S. Education Department states that, with the new FAFSA formula, more students (up to 600,000) from low-income backgrounds will become eligible for Pell Grants. This adjustment aims to address potential oversights in the previous form. Maximum annual grants will be awarded based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), and poverty guidelines.
The new FAFSA contains fewer questions than its predecessor. Students may skip more questions depending on their circumstances. The form also has two controversial questions removed:
- Students are not required to register for selective service, a government agency that registers men for military drafting in the event of a national emergency.
- Drug-related convictions no longer disqualify an applicant as the question is not included in the FAFSA.
Sibling Discount Removed
Parents no longer receive a discount for having multiple children in college at the same time. The new form still asks questions about other people in the household, but this information is not included in the federal student aid calculations.
Some other changes to note include:
- The ability to list more colleges: Students can now list up to 20 colleges on the 2024-25 FAFSA, up from 10 in previous years.
- More languages included: the previous form was available in English and Spanish only. The new form is available in the 11 most common languages in the U.S.
Students who will be attending Fontbonne in the 2024-2025 academic year (Fall 2024 and/or Spring 2025) and wish to receive financial aid, should visit studentaid.gov to start the process. Fontbonne’s federal school code is 002464. If you need assistance complete the FAFSA helpline at 1-800-433-3243, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. EST (closed on holidays).