Better FAFSA, Better Future
We will continue to update this webpage as we receive more information from the Department of Education.
In 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of federal student aid, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, need analysis, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in the Title IV programs. The changes will provide:
- a more streamlined application process,
- expanded eligibility for federal financial aid,
- reduced barriers for certain student populations, and
- a better user experience for the FAFSA form.
The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available in December 2023. The exact date has not yet been released by the Department of Education.
Changes to the FAFSA:
- The number of questions on the FAFSA has decreased from over 100 to less than 50.
- The EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) is now the Student Aid Index (SAI).
- Students can list up to 20 schools on their FAFSA via the online application.
- Applicants will be asked to report their sex, race, and ethnicity on the FAFSA itself, but students will be offered a choice of “Prefer Not to Answer”. Schools and states won’t see responses to these questions on the FAFSA.
- The Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) has been renamed the Federal Taxpayer Information (FTI)
- The Custodial Parent on your FAFSA will no longer be the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months, but rather the parent whom provided you with more financial support.
- Students, spouses, parents, and stepparents will now need to provide their consent in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section of the FAFSA for federal student aid eligibility.
- This consent will allow the IRS to share FTI.
- If any party to the FAFSA form does not provide consent, submission of the form will still be allowed. However, a Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated.
Changes to Calculating Aid Eligibility:
Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college, and they will experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid.
- The new need analysis formula:
- removes the number of family members in college from the calculation
- allows a minimum SAI of -$1,500
- implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grant.
- Child support received will be included in assets and not as untaxed income.
- Families who own a small business/farm that also serves as primary residence will now have assets of that business/farm considered in their need analysis calculation.