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Important changes coming to the 2024-2025 FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid logo

Changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 aid year that aim to make the process easier for students and families.  Typically, the FAFSA opens on Oct. 1, yet the changes to the form have pushed the launch date back to sometime in December 2023. An exact date has not been determined at this time. Meanwhile, here are five changes you can expect this time around.

          1. Fewer questions and fewer requirements. When the FAFSA opens later this year, there will be fewer questions to answer and fewer requirements overall. The form will go from the maximum 100+ questions to about half that. Since the online process personalizes the experience to what best matches a student's circumstances, not every student will be presented with all the questions. Less questions means less time required to submit the form, so students can cross this item off their to-do list sooner!

          2. Changes to tax information retrieval. Going forward, tax information will be retrieved through a direct data exchange with the IRS. This information will be used to determine eligibility for federal student aid and shared with colleges and higher education agencies to help prepare financial aid offers. Consent and approval of federal tax information transfer is required to qualify for federal student aid.

          3. Eligibility expansion. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) estimates that there will be an increase in the number of students eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant, so students should fill out their FAFSA sooner rather than later to see if they will qualify for this financial aid. After all, financial aid can run out, so act quick!

          4. Everyone needs an FSA ID. Starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA form, all users/contributors need an FSA ID and password to fill out the FAFSA. The processing time for an FSA ID can take up to five business days, so it’s best to create one at least a week before starting the FAFSA or as early as right now before the FAFSA opens!

          5. Family size and number in college. The number of people in your family will be pulled from your Federal Tax Information. The FAFSA will still ask for the number of family members in college, however, it will be excluded from federal, state, and institutional financial aid calculation. This means students may see a change in their financial aid eligibility. 

This is only a handful of the changes coming to the FAFSA, so Governors State University students are advised to visit the Financial Aid Office’s FAFSA Simplification page for more details on the changes and check it regularly for updates on the FAFSA as they become available.