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2024-25 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) Changes

2024-2025 FAFSA Update

On January 30, 2024, the Department of Education announced that FAFSA applicant information will not be released to institutions until the first half of March.

Applicants and their contributors can submit a FAFSA at any time. The FAFSA application opened on December 31, 2023, as a part of a soft launch and is now available 24/7.

Why is the FAFSA Changing?

The FAFSA Simplification Act enacted by Congress as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid starting with the 2024–25 award year. This includes changes to the Free Application for Federal StudentAid (FAFSA®) form, need analysis, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

How does the FAFSA Simplification Act affect you?
  • The Department of Education has delayed the FAFSA release until December 2023 (2024-2025 only) due to the major changes required. The FAFSA usually opens in October.
  • The FAFSA will feature fewer questions, fewer requirements, and retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • The adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation will expand Federal Pell Grant eligibility to more students.
What is changing?
  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
    • The new need analysis formula will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the 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.
  • 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 adoptive parent, and/or the parent’s spouse.
    • Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student’s college costs.Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA.
      • Additional information on contributors:
        • If you are a dependent student, you must indicate your parents (biological or adoptive) or stepparents as contributors on the FAFSA.If your parents are married and filed joint 2022 tax returns, only one parent needs to complete the FAFSA as a contributor.If your parents are married and filed separate 2022 tax returns, both parents need to complete the FAFSA as contributors.If your parents are divorced, separated, or never married, the parent who provides the most financial support should complete the FAFSA as a contributor.If you are married, you must indicate your spouse as a contributor on the FAFSA.
    • Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.
  • The contributing parent(s) responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.
    • 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 (and their spouse if remarried) who provided the most financial support to the student in the past 12 months.
  • All applicants and their contributors will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.
    • The student, student’s spouse (if married), and student’s parent(s) (if a dependent student)–must provide consent to have tax data transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. This consent is necessary for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS and to use that information in the federal student aid application process.
    • If consent is not provided by all parties, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional. It is now required.
  • The number of family members in college is not used to calculate the SAI but will still be asked on the FAFSA although it is not considered in the need analysis formula.
  • The student family size is determined by the information reported on the student/parent federal income tax returns.
  • Some financial information previously considered income or previously excluded from asset reporting will be required as assets instead.
    • Annual amount of child support received.
    • Net worth of all businesses, regardless of the size or number of employees.
    • Net worth of farm including the value of a family farm (family’s primary residence is still excluded). This includes the fair market value of land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts held against those assets.
    • For dependent students, education savings accounts will only be counted as parental assets if the account is designated for the student. 
  • The Student Aid Report (SAR) will now be referred to as the FAFSA Submission Summary. This is the summary submission document you receive after completing the FAFSA.
Prepare for the FAFSA

While the 2024-2025 FAFSA won’t be available until December, you can still prepare by doing the following:

  • Create or reconfirm your studentaid.gov account or FSA ID.
    • Everyone who needs to provide information on the FAFSA needs an FSA ID. This includes the student, the student’s parents, or stepparents (if the student is a dependent), and the student’s spouse (if applicable). Note: If a student has married parents filing taxes separately, both parents will need to create an account. 
    • Step by step guide to create the FSA ID
      • Use a phone number and email address you will keep throughout your college journey.
      • Create a memorable username and password and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget it. 
    • 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 when it’s available, sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN), apply for repayment plans, complete loan counseling, and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool.
  • Use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to find out how much federal student aid you may be eligible for starting with the 2024–25 award year.
    • This tool estimates the Student Aid Index (SAI) for 2024–25 award year, not the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for 2023–24 award year.
  • Complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens in December.
    • Log in with your FSA ID.
    • Complete the Student Section of the FAFSA.
    • Indicate any contributors to your FAFSA. This includes your parents or stepparents (if you are a dependent student) and your spouse (if applicable).
    • Ask your contributors to create FSA IDs and complete their sections of the FAFSA.
    • Review your FAFSA and submit it.
Resources

What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

Launch of the 2024-2025 FAFSA Form

Create a Studentaid.gov (FSA ID account)

FSA ID Infographic Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

The Federal Student Aid Estimator tool provides students and families an estimate of their 2024-2025 federal financial aid using the new Student Aid Index (SAI). Note: This is not a FAFSA. Students will need to complete a 2024-2025 FAFSA when it becomes available after December 2023.

MoFAFSA.org Everything you need to know about the FAFSA. Missouri College and Career Attainment Network (MOCAN)

Journey to College 2024-25 FAFSA. Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

FAFSA Checklist Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

Who is your contributor? Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) FAFSA videos.