10 changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA financial aid application

The federal government has made key changes to the student aid application with the goal of simplifying the application process and making it more accessible for applicants.

1. What is the FAFSA?

Students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal student aid. The federal government offers grants, loans, work-study and other options for aid.

2. When is the application available?

The 2024-25 FAFSA will be available by December 31, 2023. The updated FAFSA should be shorter and more user-friendly.

3. Who contributes information for the application?

Students who are dependents will need to supply parent information on their FAFSA. Students who are independent do not have to supply their parents’ information.

4. How is information supplied to the application?

Your tax information from your 2022 taxes will be transferred directly onto your form by the IRS. This information will be used to determine your eligibility for student aid.

5. How are 529 accounts used in the application?

Starting in 2024, for both dependent and independent applicants, distributions from a grandparent-owned my529 plan will not be counted as income to students for the purpose of determining financial aid eligibility.

6. Do you need a StudentAid.gov account?

Yes, both the student and the parents and/or guardians need to have their own account and password to access and complete the online FAFSA.

7. What is the Student Aid Index (SAI)?

Student Aid Index (SAI) is the term replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The new name is more accurate in describing the number used to determine aid and eligibility. Family aid received is factored in the SAI.

8. Have the eligibility requirements changed for the Pell Grant?

Yes, the federal government has made it easier for students from low-income background to receive the Pell Grant. About 1.5 million more students will be able to access the maximum Pell Grant award.

9. Is the new FAFSA form more work for me?

The FAFSA form has been simplified to make it more user-friendly. The number of questions has been reduced, and the application will now use skip-logic technology, meaning you will only be asked relevant questions based on your previous responses. This streamlining will save you time and make the process less overwhelming.

10. When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline is June 30, 2024. However, your chances of receiving aid are much higher if you submit the application earlier as financial aid is typically awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

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