The FAFSA is changing for 2024-25
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your annual application for financial aid and determines whether you qualify for grants, work-study, loans, and some scholarships.
The most important thing to know right now is that the FAFSA will not be available on the traditional date of October 1 this year. The 2024-25 FAFSA will open by the end of December at fafsa.gov. The 2024-25 FAFSA determines your financial aid eligibility for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 terms.
Prepare for the FAFSA. Take these steps now.
- Create your FSA ID and assist your contributors in creating their FSA ID.
- If you have filed before, you will already have an FSA ID.
- File the FAFSA as soon as it is available in December!
Key Changes to the FAFSA
Major changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA required by law include the following:
- The FAFSA is introducing the new term contributor, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's FAFSA form, including the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent's spouse. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the college costs of the student.
- Replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). You may notice a different measure of your ability to pay for college. The new formula allows a minimum SAI of -1,500 and implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.
- Modifications to Family Definitions in FAFSA Formulas. Expect changes in how your family size is determined (rather than household size), aligning more with what is reported on tax returns.
- Streamlining the FAFSA Form. The federal government will use data directly from the IRS to calculate the Student Aid Index. The direct data exchange will allow the necessary financial information contributors to consent to providing the data separately.
Other Changes to the FAFSA
Some changes may not affect all students, but may impact your eligibility:
- The new Student Aid Index (SAI) will no longer use the number of students in college in the eligibility formula. This may reduce need-based aid eligibility for current students with siblings in college.
- Applicants will be asked to report the net worth of all small business(es)/farm(s), regardless of the size. The net worth will no longer be excluded for families with fewer than 100 full-time employees.
- Parents without a Social Security Number (SSN) will be able to apply for a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). This will allow students with parents who do not have an SSN to submit their FAFSA online rather than having to print, sign, and mail in their application.
What is Not Changing?
The following federal financial aid requirements, rights, and responsibilities have not changed or had only minor updates:
- The FAFSA remains required annually for federal aid consideration and is available to U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens. Create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) and complete your FAFSA at fafsa.gov.
- The FAFSA form will still utilize prior-prior year tax information. Families that have significant reductions in income due to extenuating circumstances can still request a review of special circumstances.
- Federal education loan requirements remain the same.
- Student rights and responsibilities have not changed.
- Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy: provides details regarding guidelines for continued financial aid eligibility.
- Refund policy and Return of Title IV funds: provides details regarding the refund policy and requirements to return funds to the federal government.
FAFSA Simplification FAQ:
A contributor refers to anyone asked to provide information on a student's FAFSA form, i.e., the student, the student's spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent's spouse (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 does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's educational costs.
Students that live with a single/divorced/widowed parent and receive most of their support from that parent, will report only one parent on the FAFSA. The parent included on 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.
If your parent is recently widowed, please contact the Financial Aid office.
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, did not file a tax return, or had no income.
For 2024-25, printing a physical signature page will no longer be an option. There are alternative options for contributors to provide consent who do not want to or refuse to create an FSA ID, however they are not recommended due to complexity and very lengthy processing time. Please contact the Financial Aid office for further information.
No. The FSA ID process is not changing. We recommend that the student and contributor create their FSA ID at least 3 days prior to completing the FAFSA.
Yes. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, contributors will be asked to enter the net worth of their businesses or for-profit agricultural operations. Net worth is the value of the businesses or farms minus any debts owed against them. Personal residence will still be excluded as well as any real estate that is not used, stored, or sold for farming and other commercial use.
- Cash, Checking and Savings Accounts
- Inventories on hand including grain, feed, and production inputs
- Real estate
- Machinery, tools, and equipment
- Livestock, including breeding herd and offspring
- Accounts receivable
- Value of crops growing in the field
- Value of contracts in mid-production
- Assessor Valuation: Properties are generally assessed a value based upon a determined percentage of the market value. Families can utilize this to find the value of the personal residence to be excluded.
- Balance Sheet Valuation: Lender balance sheets can be obtained from a bank to provide the actual asset net worth. Be sure to double check the balance sheet for accuracy.
- Local Market Valuation: Families may use values from private sales or auction sales of other similar properties in the area to assist in determining the asset value.
- Tax Return Valuation: The Depreciation Schedule will contain values for depreciable items such as vehicles, office equipment, machinery, equipment, etc.
- Accountant Valuation: An accountant may be able to assist with their opinion if a family is in doubt.
- USDA/ Small Business Administration: Business and farm lending experts can assist in determining values of inventories and assets.