FAFSA Simplification 2024-2025
Due to the passing of the FAFSA Simplification Act enacted by congress, Federal Student Aid is rolling out significant changes to the FAFSA in phases, with full implementation of the largest changes in the 2024-2025 aid year.
This first major redesign in over 40 years is intended to make applying for federal student aid easier for students and parents, with fewer questions and fewer requirements to streamline the process.
Note: 2024-2025 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.
Summary of Changes
Who Contributes & Signs the FAFSA
The new term contributor has been introduced to the 2024-2025 FAFSA, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form.
The new FAFSA is student driven, so that means the student's answers on their section will determine who will be a contributor. Contributors besides the student and parent may now include the student’s spouse or the parent’s spouse (stepparent). Contributors will each log in to the FAFSA separately with their own FSA ID account, to complete each of their specific sections and questions that only they can view.
View the FAQs below to see how the FAFSA will identify which contributors you will need to include.
Creating a FSA Account for All Contributors
Students and all contributors must register for an FSA account, to complete and sign the online 2024-2025 FAFSA.
The ability to create an FSA account username and password has historically been limited only to parents who can be verified with a Social Security Number. However, starting in December 2024, all parent and spouse contributors without a SSN may now create one using the Department of Education's newly developed system to validate identity. Further guidance for using the updated FSA Account process is anticipated in December.
All contributors are encouraged to create an account username and password as soon as they are able to.
Consent to Exchange Tax Information from the IRS
Rather than importing tax information into the FAFSA using the previously used IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), contributors will now consent to transfer their tax information through the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX). This will reduce the number of financial questions that most families will see on the FAFSA.
The student and all contributors must provide this consent and approval on the FAFSA in order to be eligible for federal student aid. Providing consent even applies to contributors who don't have a Social Security Number, didn't file 2022 taxes, or who filed taxes outside the US.
Replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI)
The methodology used to measure a families ability to pay for college and their resulting financial aid eligibility, currently known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).
The new SAI formula will result in a new eligibility calculation for Federal Pell Grants and redefine a minimum need determination of SAI to be as low as -1500, in order to better target students with the highest need.
Expanding Access to Federal Aid
Adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation and eligibility formulas are estimated to increase the number of Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%.
Eligibility for federal student aid will also be expanded by removing the questions related to Selective Service registration and drug conviction status, and restoring access to Pell grant for incarcerated students under specific programs.
Populations Eligible for a Provisional Independent Status
Homeless, orphan, former foster youth, and unaccompanied youth—as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information because of unusual circumstances—will be able to complete the FAFSA with a provisional independent status determination and receive a calculated Student Aid Index (SAI).
Once the FAFSA is submitted, students can then reach out to our office, Financial Aid & Scholarships, to request that their independent status determination be approved based on supporting documentation. The student will receive an automatic renewal of the independent status (starting in 2025-2026) as long as their circumstances remain unchanged.
Other FAFSA Form Changes
- Students may now send their FAFSA to up to 20 colleges
- The FAFSA will be expanded to the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents
- Language-specific resources and support will also be available from FSA Information Center
- Once the FAFSA has been started, students will now be able to view the status, including contributor progress, on their FSA account
- Once all required data has been provided and all sections have been signed, any contributor can submit the FAFSA form
- After the FAFSA form is processed, a contributor is able to correct or update only their sections of the student’s application
- The results of the FAFSA form sent to the applicant in a document is now known as the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS), with it formerly being called the Student Aid Report (SAR)
- A demographic data survey will be added to the FAFSA with questions related to race, ethnicity, and gender. The survey will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and is used only for statistical purposes.
FAFSA Simplification - Frequently Asked Questions
Contributors & Creating FSA Account
What are Contributors on the 2024-2025 FAFSA?
Contributor is a new term introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA. It refers to anyone asked to provide information on a FAFSA including:
- the student
- the student's spouse
- the biological or adoptive parent(s)
- the spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA (stepparent)
A Contributor is NOT a grandparent, foster parents, legal guardian, brother or sister,
aunt or uncle, even if they helped provide for or raise the student.
A Contributor on the FAFSA form doesn't mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs.
How are Contributors determined and invited to complete the FAFSA?
The student's answers on their section of the FAFSA will determine which additional contributors (such as parents or spouse) will be required to provide their information. An invitation will go out to these contributors once the following information is entered on the FAFSA:
- Contributors name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Email address
What are the steps Contributors must follow?
- Contributor receives an email informing them that they've been identified as a contributor.
- Contributor creates a Studentaid.gov account if they don't already have one.
- Contributor logs in to account using their FSA ID account username and password.
- Contributor reviews information about completing their section of the FAFSA form.
- Contributor provides the required information on the student's FAFSA form.
What if I am a Contributor and do not want to provide my information in my student's FAFSA?
Being a contributor does NOT implicate financial responsibility. However, if a required contributor refuses to provide their information, it will result in an incomplete FAFSA form, and the student will become ineligible for federal student aid.
What if my parents are divorced? Who is the contributor to my FAFSA?
Students that live with a single/divorced/widowed parent and receive most support
from that parent, will report only one parent on the FAFSA.
The parent included in the FAFSA as a contributor must be the parent that provides the greater portion of the student's financial support. If that primary parent is remarried, the income of that parent's spouse (stepparent) will also be required.
Do parents without a Social Security Number (SSN) also need to create an FSA Account Username and Password?
Yes. Starting in 2024-2025, parents and spouses who are not U.S. Citizens or Eligible Noncitizens, and are without a Social Security Number (SSN) must now create an Federal Student Aid account.
The process of creating an FSA ID for those without a SSN will become available starting in December, using the Department of Education's newly developed system to validate identity with credit bureau data.
How long will it take for an FSA Account to be created once submitted?
An FSA ID created using a Social Security Number (SSN) will take around 1-3 days to be verified and ready to use to complete a FAFSA. We recommend creating it a few days before starting the FAFSA .
An FSA ID created without using a SSN will be immediately verified and is ready to use to complete the FAFSA instantly.
What is consent, and why do I have to provide it when completing the 2024-2025 FAFSA?
As a result of the Future Act, all contributors are required to have an FSA ID and provide consent in order to:
- Have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred from the IRS
- Have their tax data used to determine the student's eligibility for aid
- Allow the Department of Education 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.
What if I don't want to provide consent as a student or required contributor?
- If a student or required contributor doesn't provide consent to have their federal tax information transferred into the FAFSA® form, the student will not be eligible for federal student aid—even if they manually enter tax information into the FAFSA form.
- Information about how federal tax information will be used and the consequences of not providing consent will be included on the FAFSA form.
- Legal parents must provide consent to transfer federal tax information, even if one of the parents didn't file or had no income. If parents fail to provide consent, the student won't be eligible to receive federal student aid.
What happens if a Contributor provides consent but doesn't sign the FAFSA online?
Once an electronic FAFSA is started online, all contributors must complete it online.
That means that if a electronic signature was left missing, the contributor that needs
to sign the application must log in again with their FSA Account username and password.
If a student chooses to complete a paper form, all contributors will need to provide consent, wet (physical) signatures, and mail the application to the Department of Education address listed on the paper application. This method is not recommended due to complexity and increased processing time.
What tax year is being reported on the FAFSA?
2022 tax information and earnings will be reported on the 2024-2025 FAFSA.
How do you accurately report family size if a parent Contributor does not claim the student on their taxes?
Family size reported on the FAFSA will be automatically calculated based on the number of individuals claimed on the tax return (if filed). If your family size on the FAFSA needs to be reported differently than the number claimed on your taxes, there will be an option to correct the number manually after consent has been provided.
Note: A contributor cannot see what family size was reported from the IRS as that information is protected - be sure to have a copy of your tax return on hand to check who was claimed.
Can I self-report my income on FAFSA?
There are a few instances where the application will allow you to self-report if federal tax information cannot be accurately transferred through the Direct Data Exchange (DDX). Examples of when self-reporting is necessary:
- Individuals who were married and filed jointly with the IRS in 2022 and are no longer married to that spouse, or who have married a different spouse
- Individuals with foreign income or who only file foreign tax returns, as the IRS does not link to foreign tax authorities. They will instead need to manually input their income and tax data by converting foreign currency to U.S. dollars and entering the resulting amounts in the comparable fields from U.S. tax returns, such as adjusted gross income, income tax paid, and any untaxed income.
- Individuals with Foreign Earned Income Exclusion from IRS Form 2555 or 2555-EZ and reported on the 1040 tax return
While manually entering tax information into the FAFSA is allowable in these situations, consent must still be provided.
How is Direct Data Exchange (DDX) different from Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)?
The Data Retrieval Tool (used on the 2023-2024 FAFSA) is an optional tool to transfer your tax information on to the FAFSA, while consent to transfer tax information using the Direct Data Exchange (on the 2024-2025 FAFSA) is required for eligibility.
The Direct Data Exchange uses an improved process to automatically match a participant with the IRS, meaning a participant will no longer be directed to go on to the IRS website to enter their exact mailing address from their tax return to get a match before data is transferred.
Student Aid Index (SAI) & Pell
Can I get an estimate of my Scheduled Pell Award and SAI?
Yes, students and counselors may utilize the Federal Student Aid Estimator to find out how much federal student aid a student may be eligible for starting with the 2024–2025 award year based on an estimated Student Aid Index (SAI).
What is the Maximum Pell Grant award for the 2024-2025 aid year?
The Maximum Pell Grant award for the 2024-2025 aid year has not been released by the Department of Education. Future updates are expected early next year.
The Maximum Pell Grant award for the 2023-24 aid year is $7,395.
What is the new way to determine Pell eligibility?
The Scheduled Pell Award is the calculated award amount a student can receive during an academic year if they attend full-time (12 hours). Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, this award is calculated in three ways.
- Maximum Pell Grant - Automatically calculated when a student has a Student Aid Index (SAI) between –1500 and 0.
- Student Aid Index (SAI) Calculation - Used for students who don’t automatically qualify for a Maximum Pell Grant, but have a calculated SAI that is less than the Maximum Pell Grant award for the award year. Calculation: The Maximum Pell Grant for the award year minus (-) the student's SAI = the student’s Scheduled Pell award.
- Minimum Pell Grant - Students whose calculated SAI is greater than the Maximum Pell Grant award for the award year may still be eligible for a Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income, and poverty guidelines.
How does my enrollment effect the amount of Pell grant I am paid?
Your Scheduled Pell Award will be paid out each semester based on the number of credits you are enrolled in:
- Those enrolled full-time (12 hours) will receive their full Scheduled Pell Award
- Those enrolled less than 12 hours will multiply their Scheduled Pell Award by the percentages shown below to get the total prorated pell award that will pay out for the semester. This percentage determination is known as Enrollment Intensity.
|12 (or more)
In what other ways is SAI different from EFC?
The new Student Aid Index (SAI) includes several changes in the calculation used to determine aid:
- The number of family members in college is no longer considered in the calculation, but it remains a required question on the form
- Child support received will now count as an asset
- Family farms and small businesses will now count as assets - with the net worth of businesses and farms of any size included
- Families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) greater than $60,000 will be required to report asset information