We wanted to let you know that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is changing in 2024-2025 and beyond. The Department of Education is making these changes to make federal aid more accessible for students and families.
- FAFSA completion date
- The FAFSA for the 2024-2025 school year will be available to complete in December 2023, instead of October. This is just a one-time change. After that, it will return to the usual October opening schedule.
- Streamlined application process
- The FAFSA will have fewer questions and requirements, and it will get your tax info directly from the IRS, not through the old IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
- You will first complete the Student portion of the FAFSA. This will include giving "contributors," such as your parent(s) or spouse, permission to access and complete their portion of the application.
- New terminology and information
- The formula for figuring out financial aid, previously called Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is now called the Student Aid Index (SAI). This new formula no longer includes the number of family members in college, gives a clearer picture of FAFSA results, and has separate rules for Federal Pell Grants.
- 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 student's college costs.
- Expanding Pell Grant eligibility
- The adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation will expand Federal Pell Grant eligibility to more students.
|The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-2025 year opens.
Prepare for the FAFSA
While the 2024-2025 FAFSA won’t be available until December, you can still prepare by doing the following:
- Create an FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website website and assist contributors, such as your parent(s) or spouse, in creating an FSA ID.
- Complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens in December.
Frequently Asked Questions
Contributor is a new term introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA form. It 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 parent, legal guardian, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, even if they helped provide for or raise the student.
A Contributor on the FAFSA form doesn't mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs.
The student's or parent's answers will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
These contributors will be invited to complete their portion of the FAFSA form by entering their name, date of birth, Social Security number, and email address. They must also provide personal and financial information in their own sections of the FAFSA form.
- Contributor receives an email informing them that they've been identified as a contributor.
- Contributor creates a StudentAid.gov account if they don't already have one.
- Contributor logs in to an account using their FSA ID account username and password.
- Contributor reviews information about completing their section of the FAFSA form.
- Contributor provides the required information on the student's FAFSA form.
Being a contributor does not implicate financial responsibility. However, if a required contributor refuses to provide their information, it will result in an incomplete FAFSA form, and the student will become ineligible for federal student aid.
Students who live with a single/divorced/widowed parent and receive the most support from that parent will report only one parent on the FAFSA.
The parent included in the FAFSA as a contributor must be the parent who 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.
According to the Future Act, all students and contributors must provide consent to the following:
- Have their federal tax information transferred directly into the FAFSA® form via direct data exchange with the IRS;
- Have their federal tax information used to determine the student's eligibility for federal student aid; and
- Allow the U.S. Department of Education to share its federal tax information with postsecondary institutions and state higher education agencies for use in awarding and administering financial aid.
Important: Even if students or contributors don't have a Social Security number, didn't file taxes, or filed taxes outside of the U.S., they still need to provide consent.
- 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.
- Information about how federal tax information will be used and the consequences of not providing consent will be included on the FAFSA form.
- Legal parents must provide consent to transfer federal tax information, even if one of the parents didn't file or had no income. If parents fail to provide consent, the student won't be eligible to receive federal student aid.
- All students and contributors must create a StudentAid.gov account to complete the FAFSA form online.
- Students and contributors will use their FSA ID account username and password to log in to their accounts.
- Even if a parent or spouse contributor doesn't have a Social Security number, they can still get an FSA ID using their ITIN to fill out their portion of the student's FAFSA form online.
No. The FSA ID process is not changing. It's even better that parents and students can create the FSA ID and have it ready anytime before the FAFSA application starts.
To create an FSA ID, you'll need your Social Security number (SSN). Other information required is full name and date of birth. You'll also need to create a memorable username and password and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget it. You'll be required to provide your email address or mobile phone number when you make your FSA ID. Providing a mobile phone number and/or email address that you have access to will make it easier to log in to ED online systems and allow you to verify your FSA ID before using it on the FAFSA and additional account recovery options.
This Federal Student Aid video can help create a step-by-step FSA ID.
Your parents' citizenship status doesn't affect your eligibility for federal aid. They cannot create an FSA ID, but you can complete the FAFSA on paper and ask for their signatures. For FAFSA purposes, you must provide your parents' income, no matter where they reside.
If the parent you indicate on the FAFSA is the parent who remarried, it'll depend on how they filed taxes. If they filed jointly, only one parent needs an FSA ID. If they filed separately, both parents would need their own FSA ID.
We have seen different situations when a parent creates their FSA ID, verifies it, and is ready to use, and sometimes the system asks them to wait 24-48 hours to use it. It depends on the information matching system.
We recommend creating it a few days before starting the form. FSA IDs made on the day of might work but will not have full functionality yet, like using the Direct Data Exchange (FADDX) to transfer tax information.
Two-step verification, a form of multi-factor authentication (MFA), helps protect your StudentAid.gov account with additional protection from fraud.
Yes! For example, a student and parent cannot use the same phone number for MFA.
This depends on the family's situation. For example, if a student has married parents filing taxes separately, both parents will need to make an FSA ID.
None. Just ensure they are verified and ready to use when the FAFSA 2024-2025 opens sometime in December 2023.
Starting 2024-25, a separate signature page will no longer exist. There are two alternative options for contributors to provide consent who do not want to or refuse to create an FSA ID:
- The first example would be the student applying using the paper FAFSA and obtaining wet signatures from all contributors, including the parents, who also affirm their consent.
- The other option is for the student to complete their section and self-report information for the parent section on the FAFSA form. When the student submits their FAFSA form without the parent's signature, it will be placed in rejected status by the FAFSA Processing System (FPS). The parent can then provide their signature and consent on a paper copy of the FAFSA Submission Summary. Now this method is not recommended due to complexity and increased processing time.
The Future Act requires that every contributor on the FAFSA provide consent to share their tax information in the application so that the IRS can share this information with Federal Student Aid (FSA). All parties whose Federal Tax Information (FTI) is included on a student's FAFSA form must consent annually.
The consent will be required when a student submits a FAFSA, chooses Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) when starting loan repayment, or submits the Total and Permanent Disability discharge (TPD) within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for totally and permanently disabled students.
The consent is necessary not only for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS but also to use that FTI in the federal student aid application process, as well as do other things such as redisclose that information to certain eligible entities, such as higher education institutions.
If a student, spouse, or parent doesn't provide consent on the FAFSA, the Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated, and the student will not be eligible for any federal aid.
According to the IRS tax year 2022, these are the thresholds by filing status. If an independent student (and spouse, if married), or a parent of a dependent student, were not required to file a federal income tax return for 2022, then the student will automatically receive a Student Aid Index (SAI) equal to –1500. They still need to provide consent when submitting the FAFSA, so the IRS can confirm to Federal Student Aid (FSA) that the student, parents, and spouse didn't file taxes.
No. Starting FAFSA 2024-2025, the DRT will no longer exist. After the student, spouse, and/or parent provides consent to the Direct Data Exchange (FADDX), the Federal Tax Information (FTI) will be linked to the application contributor. Federal Student Aid (FSA) will now directly transfer Federal Tax Information (FTI) from the IRS into the FAFSA form as long as the user has provided FSA with consent to do so.
All users identified as required contributors on a particular FAFSA form will be prompted to provide consent for the IRS to use their Federal Tax Information (FTI). This consent is required to retrieve FTI from the IRS to calculate the student's aid eligibility. If any party to the FAFSA form does not provide consent, submission of the form will still be allowed. However, a Student Aid Index (SAI), which replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will not be calculated.
Starting with the Simplified FAFSA, students will determine which parent to report based on which one provides the most financial support. It is okay if the parent or parents reported do not claim the student on their taxes. The reported parents will provide consent to transfer their tax data even if they do not claim the student on their taxes.
Yes. If the parent providing more financial support is remarried, the step parent's tax information is required.
Our Federal Aid Counselors can offer to talk directly with the parent or step parent to explain why that information is needed and answer any questions, which sometimes puts them at ease about how their sensitive info will be used. However, we cannot provide tax advice.
Independent students or parents are the best sources for this estimate; they can also consult their accountant or other financial professional if they have access to one to estimate the amounts to report.
Being self-employed does end up showing business income on tax returns. But it depends on the type of work whether or not they will have to report any assets associated with their business.
Yes. Starting 2024-2025, when the student, spouse, parent, and/or stepparent provide consent, the IRS's Federal Tax Information (FTI) will include the information from an amended tax return.
After you provide consent on the FAFSA, if the IRS cannot transfer your Federal Tax Information (FTI) to your FAFSA application, the application will allow you to self-report it. Self-reporting one's tax information on the FAFSA does not override the requirement for each required contributor to provide consent on the FAFSA form. So two pieces - they need to provide consent, and we need to have their tax information, either directly from the IRS or self-reported manually on the FAFSA form.
Any individual who is a contributor to the FAFSA application must provide consent. This includes parents, and independent students, regardless of their tax filing status. Generally, the parents of independent students are not contributors and would, therefore, not need to provide consent.
Starting 2024-25, there will be only two options for filing a FAFSA form: electronically, through studentaid.gov, or the option to file on paper which will also be available. However, once an application is started online, all parties must complete it online. So, that means that if a signature is missing, the parent or the contributor that needs to complete their section and/or sign the application must obtain an FSA ID get into the application, and complete their section.
There is no option to print a signature page any longer. For this reason, financial aid administrators will not be able to submit complete FAFSA forms because of the consent provision that all contributors must provide and sign.
Students and parents will be required to have an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA application online. If they choose to mail a paper FAFSA, both will need to provide consent on the paper FAFSA, and both will need to provide wet signatures and mail the application to the Department of Education address on the paper application. This method is not recommended due to complexity and increased processing time.
Fraud or identity theft are the most likely reasons for the IRS not providing tax information to the applicant or the contributor. If the contributor has been flagged by the IRS, possibly due to identity theft or a breach of some sort to their information, then the IRS response code will be IRS enabled to provide information.
There is no longer a separate signature page, and there won't be a consent signature option on paper. There are two alternative options for contributors to provide consent who do not want to or refuse to create an FSA ID. One option is to submit a paper FAFSA form completed by all contributors and mailed to the Federal Student Aid. This method is not recommended due to complexity and increased processing time.
SAI, or Student Aid Index, is replacing the term Expected Family Contribution, known as EFC. The SAI brings a change in the methodology used to determine aid.
- The SAI is a number used to determine eligibility for need-based aid. It is calculated using information the student (and contributors, if required) provides on the FAFSA form.
- The SAI will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) starting in the 2024–2025 award year.
- A student’s SAI can be a negative number down to –1500.
The Student Aid Index (SAI) represents a change in the methodology used to determine aid:
- Child support received will now count as an asset instead of income.
- Family farms and small businesses will now count as assets.
- The number of family members in college is no longer considered in the needs analysis formula, but it is still a required question on the FAFSA® form.