2024-2025 FAFSA Changes

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.

2024-2025 FAFSA Available Now

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1 each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-2025 FAFSA was not available until December 2023. The FAFSA is now available on https://www.studentaid.gov/

What is changing with the 2024-2025 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 be shorter and more user-friendly.
  • Students can list up to 20 colleges.
  • The FAFSA will be available in more languages.
  • Students will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.
  • All “contributors” MUST provide financial information.
  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI.
  • Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant.
  • The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.
  • Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.

What isn’t changing with the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

  • The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete a FAFSA will remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you’ll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-25 application.
  • The questions regarding an applicant’s gender, race, and ethnicity will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, ECTC won’t even receive this data from the FAFSA.

Prepare for the FAFSA

Prepare by doing the following:

  • Create an FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website and assist contributors, such as your parent(s) or spouse, in creating an FSA ID.
    • An FSA ID is an account and password that gives you access to the Federal Student Aid’s online system and serves as your electronic signature.
    • With the FSA ID, you can fill out the FAFSA, sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN), apply for repayment plans, complete loan counseling, and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool.
    • If you already have an FSA ID, there is no need to create a new one.  Your existing FSA ID will continue to work.

We’ll continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid, and appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes required by the FAFSA Simplification Act.