2024–2025 FAFSA Simplification Updates
On December 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions regarding the FAFSA Simplification Act—an extensive redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid, giving students a better and simpler experience with the FAFSA form. The FAFSA has been available beginning October 1 each year. However, due to significant changes, the FAFSA opening date for the 2024–2025 Award year will be sometime in December 2023.
Federal Student Aid Estimator | Federal Student Aid: Use this tool to estimate the Student Aid Index (SAI) for the 2024–2025 award year to get an idea of how much federal aid you may be eligible for in the 2024–2025 award year.
What is Changing?
The FAFSA on the Web process will be dynamic and more streamlined with fewer questions. The number of questions will be reduced from 108 to 46.
- Anyone who is asked to provide information on the FAFSA
- Each contributor must provide their consent to include their Federal Tax Information (FTI) on the FAFSA, even if they did not file a US tax return.
- Direct Data Exchange (DDX) will replace the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
- Federal Tax Information transferred directly from the IRS
- Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on the applicants' FAFSA including:
- The student
- The student's spouse (if applicable)
- A biological or adoptive parent; or
- The spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA (a stepparent)
All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred from the IRS, have their tax data used to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid and allow the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to share their tax information with institutions and state higher education agencies for the administration of federal student aid. Students, parents or spouses should request their FSA ID before starting the FAFSA on studentaid.gov.
EFC To SAI (2024–2025 Award Year)
Financial Need under the Student Aid Index (SAI) will be determined differently from the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). New eligibility formulas and funding are estimated to increase Federal PELL grant eligibility. The Federal PELL Grant will be expanded to more students, using family size and the federal poverty level in the SAI calculation.
Parental Income on the FAFSA
- Parents who live together
- Parental income and assets in the case of a student whose parents are married and not separated, or who are unmarried but live together, shall include the income and assets of both parents
- Divorced or separated parents
- Parental income and assets for a student whose parents are divorced or separated, but not remarried, should be reported for the parent who provides the greater portion of the student's financial support only.
- Death of a parent
- Parental income and assets in the case of the death of a parent is determined as follows: (A) If a parent has died, the surviving parent's income and assets shall be reported if such parent is not remarried. (B) If both parents have died, the student shall not report any parental income or assets.
- Remarried parents
- If a parent has remarried, the income of that parent's spouse shall be included if the student's parent and the stepparent are married as of the submission date of the FAFSA.
- Single parent who is not divorced or separated
- A single parent who is not divorced or separated shall include the income and assets of such single parent only.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Replaced
The IRS DRT will be replaced with the Direct Data Exchange (DDX)
- EVERYONE (students, spouses (if applicable) and parents) will be required to give consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) imported into the FAFSA via the DDX.
- Non-tax filers must also check the box to consent. When the IRS data is accessed, the process will verify non-filling status.
Additional Changes to the FAFSA
- The FAFSA will be available in 11 languages.
- Students can enter up to 20 colleges; the housing plan question will be removed.
- Number in college information will still be collected from the student, however this will not be part of the new SAI calculation.
- Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.