2024-2025 FAFSA Updates
On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions regarding the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA® ) form as well as expands access to federal student aid. Due to the significant changes, the FAFSA opening date for the 2024-2025 award year will be delayed.
The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be pushed back from October 1, 2023 to sometime in December 2023.
FAFSA Form Changes
The questions that have been removed from the FAFSA effective the 2024-25 award year include, but are not limited to the following:
The student's housing choice
The student's, spouse's, and parents' untaxed income that does not appear on the IRS 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR tax return (such as untaxed payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement saving plans represented by IRS Form W-2 Box 12 codes D, E, F, G, H, and S; housing, food, and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy, and others; etc.)
The student's interest in Federal Work-Study (FWS) employment
Taxable earnings from need-based employment (such as need-based employment portions of fellowships and assistantships)
Excluded income for the student, spouse, and parents. This includes other income items that have been reported under "Additional Financial Information" on the FAFSA and excluded from need analysis in prior years (such as taxable combat pay, or special combat pay and cooperative education program earnings). Child support received is still reported, but as assets rather than income.
The student's driver's license number and state
Highest school completed by the student's parents. This question now asks whether either parent attended college.
The college degree or certificate a student will be working on when they begin the award year
Whether the student or parent filed IRS Schedule 1
The dislocated worker question
The FAFSA Simplification Act specifies which questions can be asked on the FAFSA and prohibits the U.S. Department of Education (ED) from asking FAFSA questions that are unnecessary for Title IV federal student aid.
A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA including:
The student's spouse (if applicable)
A biological or adoptive parent; or
The spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA--the stepparent
The new FAFSA is student driven, so that means the student's answers on their section will determine who will be a contributor (in addition to the student). Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA. Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.
All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred from the IRS, have their tax data used to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid, and allow the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to share their tax information with institutions and state higher education agencies for the administration of Title IV aid. Consent is provided once for the award year and cannot be revoked in that award year. This consent is necessary even if the contributor does not have an SSN, did not file taxes, or filed taxes in another country.
If a dependent student's parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will be contributors, will need to have separate FSA IDs, and need to provide consent. Dependent students whose parents filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly only require one parent contributor to complete the FAFSA. If the student's parents filed separately, both parents will be considered contributors and therefore need separate FSA IDs, and both must provide consent.
If an independent student is married and filed separately, both individuals are contributors, must have FSA IDs, and must provide consent for the student to be eligible for Title IV aid.
Parent of Record Starting 2024-25
Effective the 2024-25 award year, parent of record on the FAFSA is noted below. You will notice that the parent with whom the student lived the most in the past 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA, is no longer a criterion in cases of divorced or separated parents. For divorced or separated parents, income and assets are reported for the parent who provides the most financial support even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with the other parent.
Parental Income on FAFSA
Parents who live together
Parental income and assets in the case of student whose parents are married and not separated, or who are unmarried but live together, shall include the income and assets of both parents.
Divorced or separated parents
Parental income and assets for a student whose parents are divorced or separated, but not remarried, is determined by including only the income and assets of the parent who provides the greater portion of the student's financial support.
Death of a parent
Parental income and assets in the case of the death of any parent is determined as follows:
(A) If either of the parents has died, the surviving parent shall be considered a single parent, until that parent has remarried.
(B) If both parents have died, the student shall not report any parental income or assets.
If a parent whose income and assets are taken into account under paragraph (2), or if a parent who is a widow or widower and whose income is taken into account under paragraph (3), has remarried, the income of that parent's spouse shall be included in determining the parent's assessment of adjusted available income if the student's parent and the stepparent are married as of the date of application for the award year concerned.
Single parent who is not divorced or separated
Parental income and assets in the case of a student whose parent is not described in paragraph (1) and is a single parent who is not divorced, separated, or remarried, shall include the income and assets of such single parent."
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Replaced
The IRS DRT will be replaced with the Direct Data Exchange (DDX).
EVERYONE (students, spouses (if applicable), and parents) will need to consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) imported into the FTI module.
To provide consent, the individual will need to access the FAFSA with an FSA ID that has been matched with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Federal tax filers will have their tax information imported into the FTI module. No tax income will transfer into the FAFSA, but tax data will be sent to the colleges listed on the FAFSA.
Non-tax filers must also check the box to consent. When IRS Data is accessed, the process will verify non-filing status.
Benefits to Students, Families, and Borrowers
The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA form. Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid.
In addition to the SAI, the FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. New eligibility formulas and funding are estimated to increase Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%. Incarcerated students will regain the ability to receive a Pell Grant, and Pell Grant lifetime eligibility will be restored to students whose school closed while they were enrolled, or where subject to a false certification, identity theft, or a borrower defense loan discharge.
Accessibility to the FAFSA has been expanded to the top 11 languages spoken by English learners in the U.S.- Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Arabic, Korean, Russian, German, Haitian, and Hindi.
Siblings in College
No benefit for having siblings in college: Previously, the FAFSA divided the EFC proportionally based on the number of household members in college. The elimination of this "sibling discount" will be the biggest change in aid eligibility for some students. The SAI will not use the number in college as a factor in calculation of eligibility. The determination to no longer consider number in college was made by Congress and can only be changed by Congress.
Pell Grant Eligibility
Pell Grant eligibility will be determined in three steps:
1. Maximum Pell Grant – Applicants may qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), and poverty guidelines. Students qualifying for a Maximum Pell Grant will have an SAI between negative $1,500 (-$,1500) and $0.
2. Student Aid Index (SAI) – Applicants who do not qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant may still qualify if their calculated SAI is less than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year. The applicant’s Pell Grant award for full-time enrollment will be equal to the maximum Pell Grant for the award year minus SAI. The Pell Grant will be adjusted (prorated) if an applicant enrolls in less than full time, or if the applicant’s Cost of Attendance (COA) is less than the calculated Pell Grant award.
3. Minimum Pell Grant – Applicants whose SAI is greater than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year may still qualify for a Pell Grant, based on family size, AGI, and poverty guidelines.
Non- Filers – Independent student (and spouse, if applicable) tax non-filers and dependent children of non-filing parent (s)
Children of certain deceased veterans and public safety officers- Students under age 33 whose parent died in the armed forces after September 11, 2001, and or students under age 33 whose parent (s) died in the line of duty as a public safety officer
Automatic Pell Grants based on income household and size: 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 award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the federal poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.
Once the annual Federal Pell Grant is determined, half of the award will be offered in each semester of the award year and will be prorated by Enrollment Intensity instead of Enrollment Levels.
Year-Round Pell Grant
Previously, a Pell Grant-eligible student must have been enrolled at least half-time in a payment period during which they received more than 100% of their scheduled award. Beginning with the 2024-2025 award year, half-time enrollment is no longer required.
Family Farms and Small Businesses
Inclusion of family farms or small businesses: When required, families will now report the value of their farms or businesses. While this inclusion continues to be debated in Congress, it will be required to be reported for appropriate families on the 2024-25 FAFSA and can influence the SAI.
Students with unusual circumstances are defined as:
A student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of unusual circumstances which prevent the student from contacting parents. These circumstances could include—
human trafficking, as described in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.)
legally granted refugee or asylum status and are separate from their parents, or their parents are displaced in a foreign country
parental abandonment or estrangement and have not been adopted
abusive or threatening environment or
student or parental incarceration and contact with parents would pose a risk to the student.
Other students will continue to qualify as independent on their FAFSA form and not required to provide parental information if they:
Are active-duty military
Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
Were an orphan, ward of the court or in foster care at the age of 13 or older
Are or were a legally emancipated minor or in a legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student’s state of legal residence or
Are a student unaccompanied and either homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
Starting with the 2024-25 Award Year, both first-time and renewal applicants who indicate on their FAFSA form that they have an unusual circumstance will be granted provisional independent status. They will be able to complete the form without providing parental information. They will also receive an estimate of their federal student aid eligibility, which will be subject to a final determination by the institution they attend. If a student's institution approves their unusual circumstances, their independent status will carry over when they renew their FAFSA form in future award years, and they will be considered independent for as long as they remain at the same institution and their circumstances remain unchanged.
Additional information can be found at StudentAid.gov
For a detailed presentation on the changes by CSAC please click here.
NOTE: 2024-25 FAFSA CHANGES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. INFORMATION ON THIS WEBPAGE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS NEW INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.
What's Not Changing
While the FAFSA is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that will not change.
The FAFSA will remain required for federal aid consideration and will be used as well for institutional and state aid determination.
Questions introduced in 2023-24 about the applicant's sex, race, and ethnicity have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and remain only for statistical purposes.
Dependency status questions that determine if your parents complete the FAFSA with you remain the same.
The FAFSA will request tax information from the prior-prior year. Families with significant reductions in income levels can review the special circumstance process.
Degree-seeking students will be eligible for student loan amounts assuming they complete the FAFSA and are not default on their previous student loans.
Undergraduate admission applications at UC should be completed by December 1 for scholarship consideration for incoming students.
Because some aid programs are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, an early FAFSA application receives priority consideration for limited funding sources.
With the 2025-26 FAFSA, the FAFSA is again expected to be available beginning October 1 of each year.
The FAFSA remains an annual application that continuing students will need to complete each year.