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FAFSA Process for 2024-2025

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 resulting in a substantial revamp of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid.

Important Changes for 2024-2025

  • FAFSA application opens in December 2023 instead of the usual October date.
  • Both students and parents must create a Student Aid Account to get an FSA ID before completing the form. Allow at least three days. 

Student looking up FAFSA info on device

The FAFSA Simplification Act aims to make applying for federal financial aid easier for students. Check out the changes it will bring, such as how federal student aid eligibility is calculated. View video...

  • If parents are divorced or separated, the parent who provided the most financial support in the last calendar year will now complete the FAFSA.
  • The number of students a family has enrolled in college will no longer factor into the FAFSA calculation.
  • The net worth of family farms and small businesses will now be required as part of the application.

Benefits of the FAFSA Simplification Act

  • Streamlined application process (from 108 questions to 46 questions).
  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Reduced barriers for many student populations including homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds.
  • Step-by-step instructions for filling out the FAFSA are available at 8 Easy Steps for Parents Completing the FAFSA Form.”

Things that Are Not Changing

  • The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if parent(s) must complete the 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 the 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.

Significant Changes to the FAFSA

Other Recent Important Changes