Changes to FAFSA
FAFSA Simplification (2024-2025 Academic Year)
Why is the FAFSA changing?
The FAFSA Simplification Act was recently passed by Congress to streamline the financial aid process for students and families. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form has been re-designed to clarify the questions that will be asked and to expand access to federal student aid.
What is changing?
- The FAFSA is scheduled to open in December. In years before, the FAFSA opened in October. The deadline for the PA State Grant is May 1, meaning the FAFSA must be completed on or before May 1 to be eligible for the grant.
- Student and parent(s) must have or create an FSA I.D.
- Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI).
- You can now add up to 20 colleges and universities on the FAFSA, as opposed to 10 in previous years.
- The IRS Data Retrieval Tool has been replaced by the Federal Tax Information System. Both student and parent(s) will now be required to give their consent to pull their tax information directly to the FAFSA. If contributors do not file taxes, then the IRS will report a “non-filing” status on the FAFSA form.
- The Federal Pell Grant will be expanded to more students.
- You will see the term “contributor.” A contributor is anyone asked to provide information on the FAFSA: student, student spouse, parent(s), and step-parent(s).
- Since each tax filer is required to provide consent to pull information directly from the IRS, there will be cases where both parents need an FSA ID and password. For example: If both parents are married but filing separately, both parents will need to login with their individual FSA I.D. to give consent.
- Students whose parents are separated or divorced must provide the information of the parent who provides the most financial support for the student. This is different from previous FAFSA applications that considered the student’s primary residence.
- Students who qualify for independent status due to homelessness or parents not providing any financial support no longer need to re-certify their dependency status each year.
- Parents who do not have social security numbers will be able to apply for FSA I.D.s They will now be able to submit the form online, rather than printing, signing, and mailing in their application.
What can I do to prepare?
The 2024-2025 FAFSA is scheduled to open in December 2023. You will be able to apply for the FAFSA at studentaid.gov. If you have not yet done so, please set up an FSA I.D. before completing the FAFSA. Follow the prompts in on the Federal Student Aid site.
You can set up an appointment with a counselor to complete the FAFSA. We are offering in-person and online meetings every Tuesday in January and every Wednesday in February.