Easier FAFSA for Students and Families
FAFSA Changes Overview
The FAFSA Simplification Act is making it easier than ever to secure federal student aid.
The FAFSA changes are being implemented in phases, with full implementation of major provisions in the 2024–25 award year.
Timing & Deadlines:
- The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available to students and families by December 31, 2023.
- For returning students to qualify for the maximum amount of scholarships and grants, complete your FAFSA by the deadline of Tuesday, April 2, 2024.
- For new students to qualify for the maximum amount of scholarships and grants, complete your FAFSA by the priority deadline of Friday, March 1, 2024. The final deadline to complete your FAFSA is Tuesday, April 2, 2024.
More streamlined application process
Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
A new user experience for the FAFSA form
- Streamlined Process: Expect a simplified FAFSA form with fewer questions, making it a breeze to apply. IRS tax information will be transferred directly to your FAFSA application.
- More Options: Now, you can list up to 20 colleges on your FAFSA, giving you flexibility and choice.
- Multilingual Support: The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available in 11 languages, ensuring accessibility for everyone.
- Student Aid Index (SAI): Say goodbye to Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The SAI determines your ability to pay for college and your aid eligibility with new and improved methodologies.
- Expanded Considerations: Child support and family farms/businesses now count as assets. Family members in college won't affect the need analysis formula.
- Negative SAI: You can now have a minimum SAI of -1500, making financial aid even more accessible.
- Contributors: Parents, guardians and spouses are now considered contributors on your FAFSA application, and each contributor will need to give consent. Unsure who should be a contributor? It’s simply who provided the most financial support.
- Consent and Approval: Contributors need to provide consent and approval for their tax info. Even if you don't have an SSN or filed taxes in a foreign country, this step is essential.
- Contributor: A new term for anyone required to provide information on the FAFSA form, including the student, student’s spouse, biological or adoptive parent, and/or stepparent. A contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide their information and signature on the FAFSA form, as well as consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred directly into the form via Future Act - Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX) with the IRS.
- Federal Tax Information (FTI): Instead of using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you'll consent to share your FTI directly with the IRS.
- Student Aid Index (SAI): Replacing the EFC, the SAI is calculated from the information on your FAFSA to determine your family's ability to pay for college and is used to determine aid eligibility.
- Unusual Circumstances: Students facing challenges contacting parents may be granted provisional independent status and complete the FAFSA without providing parent information.
- Special Circumstances: In some scenarios, financial aid administrators can use professional judgment to justify adjusting data elements in the COA or SAI calculation based on special financial situations. More information can be found here.
- Stay Informed: Keep an eye on emails from the U.S. Department of Education for updates.
- Opt-In for SMS: Receive instant updates by opting in for SMS notifications through your StudentAid.gov account.
- Follow Social Media: Catch announcements and resources on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook from Federal Student Aid.
- Get Your FSA ID: Ensure you and your contributor(s) have a Federal Student Aid ID. If you've completed the FAFSA before, you're all set. If not, create an account on StudentAid.gov.
- If you do not have a SSN, refer to this guide to acquire an FSA ID.
- Subscribe and Watch: Stay updated with Federal Student Aid Partner Emails and the Federal Student Aid Outreach YouTube Channel for helpful videos and webinars.
- The FAFSA Simplification Act Text
- What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?
- Federal Student Aid Estimator
- How to Get an FSA ID for Individuals Without a Social Security Number
- Cómo obtener un FSA ID para personas sin un Número de Seguro Social (SSN)
Events and Webinar Recordings
Helpful Webinars from the Federal Student Aid: An Office of the U.S. Department of Education
- FAFSA® Changes: An Overview webinar: Provides an overview of the FAFSA changes, including the contributor role, the StudentAid.gov account requirement, the SAI, the requirement for consent and approval to have federal tax information transferred, and the changes to special and unusual circumstances.
- Special Student Populations and Circumstances for the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form webinar: Helps college access professionals guide students with special and unusual circumstances, and students who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness, through the FAFSA process. This webinar covers key terminology, how to navigate the professional judgment process, and what documentation students may need to provide.
- Resources to Effectively Engage Families for Upcoming FAFSA® Changes webinar: Explores how tools and resources can help students and families complete the FAFSA form and navigate the financial aid process. This webinar also covers the 2024–25 FAFSA changes and general application timelines.
- 2024–25 FAFSA® Demonstration webinar: Shares a tour of the new features in the FAFSA form and discusses important updates to the FAFSA experience, including the new roles page, how to invite contributors, the new question order, the student demographic questions, the parent wizard, and other features. This demonstration shows a scenario of a dependent student with married parents who file a joint tax return.