2024-25 FAFSA Changes
FAFSA Simplification Act: What you need to know at UHV
Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2024-2025!
As a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act passed by Congress in 2020, significant changes were made to the processes and systems governing federal student aid. This includes revisions to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, changes to the need analysis used to determine eligibility for federal aid, changes to terminology, and the implementation of various policies and procedures for institutions participating in federal student aid programs.
2024-25 FAFSA Changes
FAFSA 2024-2025 will be available December 2023
In the past, the FAFSA has been available starting on October 1st each year. Due to significant changes to the application and a rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA will not be available until December 2023. We will update you here when an exact date is announced.
How is the FAFSA changing?
There are a number of 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 be shorter and more user-friendly.
The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. 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.
- Students may list up to 20 colleges.
Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.
- The FAFSA will be available in more languages.
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.
- Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.
Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. 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. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that 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.
- All "contributors" must provide financial information.
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/partner 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 most federal student aid.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
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.
- The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI.
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 used in the calculation of the SAI. As such, undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.
UHV may continue to use the number in college for undergraduate students when determining eligibility for need-based institutional financial aid.
- Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant.
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 Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. SAI will determine Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts.
- The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.
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.
- Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.
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.