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2024-2025 FAFSA CHANGES

Last updated: November 28, 2023

How the FAFSA Simplification Act Affects You

Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year! 

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

Grants are funds that do not require repayment. Grants are generally awarded to students with the greatest financial need, which is determined by the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal grant program consists of Pell, SEOG, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. State grants include the HOPE Scholarship and Tuition Equalization Grant.

2024-2025 FAFSA Available in December 2023

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until sometime in December 2023. Updates on an exact date will be posted here when announced.

Need to forecast your 2024-2025 eligibility? The Federal Student Aid Estimator provides an estimate of how much federal student aid the student may be eligible to receive. These estimates are based on the Student Aid Index (SAI), an index to determine federal student aid eligibility.

What’s changing with the FAFSA?

There are several 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 reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web has built in logic, some students will not be required to answer all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process to allow faster more accurate submissions.

This new change allows students to list up to 20 colleges and universities as opposed to only 10 on the previous FAFSA application.

The new FAFSA application will expand to include 11 most common languages as opposed to only English and Spanish.

Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-2025, all persons on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. This change reduces the number of financial related questions required on the FAFSA, increases the accuracy of information reported, which may minimize the selection of verification.

Per the Department of Education, a new term “contributor” refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form (such as parent/stepparent 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 federal student aid.

Beginning 2024-2025, the term Expected Family Contribution will be replaced with the new term 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 (lowest 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 2024-2025 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, Morehouse students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

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 poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

Previously, Pell Grant was awarded based on full-time (12 or more hours), three-quarter-time (9-11 credit hours), half-time (6-8 credit hours) or less-than-half-time (1-5 credit hours) enrollment statuses. For 2024-2025, the enrollment statuses will be replaced with a new term called “enrollment intensity.” 

Enrollment intensity is the percentage of full-time enrollment at which a student tis enrolled, rounded to the nearest whole percent. For example, if full-time enrollment is 12 or more credit hours and the student is enrolled in 7 credit hours, the enrollment intensity would be (7 / 12) x 100% = 58%.

For the 2024-2025 award year and thereafter, a student’s scheduled Pell Grant award is multiplied by the student’s enrollment intensity percentage to determine the Annual Pell Grant Award.

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 2024-2025, new change removes the half-time enrollment requirement.

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.