What’s Different on the New FAFSA Form?
The new 2024-2025 FAFSA form, also known as the “better FAFSA,” is expected to debut on December 31, 2023. Anticipated updates to the form promise to “offer a new streamlined user experience for students and their families.”
A Streamlined Approach
The simplified FAFSA offers a more efficient application with fewer questions. The previous form included a whopping 103 questions, which could be a daunting task to complete.
The new form will allow applicants, depending on their circumstances, to bypass as many as 26 questions. This means that some applicants will only answer as few as 18 questions, allowing them to complete the form in less than 10 minutes.
In addition, the question that requires students to register for selective service to complete the FAFSA has been eliminated. Also, drug-related convictions will no longer disqualify students from federal aid, and the related question has been removed.
IRS tax information will also be imported into the FAFSA form, meaning families will no longer enter their tax information manually.
One of the key changes is that all contributors will need a FSA ID, or a StudentAid.gov username and password. Previously, the student and one parent would need a FSA ID. Now, each contributor will need a FSA ID to login and consent to have their federal tax information transferred directly to the FAFSA form from the IRS.
For example, a student with married parents who filed taxes separately would need to invite both parents to be a contributor and consent to FAFSA pulling their 2022 taxes.
Each contributor will need to sign and complete the form. The last contributor to fill out the form will submit the FAFSA form.
Student Aid Index
Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which measured how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute to the cost of college, has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).
Student Aid Index measures a family’s financial strength, and it is used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid. The information students and their families provide on the FAFSA form will determine a student’s SAI, which will be used to calculate a student’s need-based financial aid amount.
According to the Office of the U.S. Department of Education, the new FAFSA form increases Pell Grant eligibility for 610,000 new low-income students who have previously been ineligible for Pell. Also, 1.5 million students will now be eligible for the maximum Pell award.
More College Options
In the past FAFSA form, students could only automatically submit their FAFSA to 10 schools. Now, students will be able to submit their form to up to 20 schools.
No Sibling Discount
The prior form took into consideration the number of children parents had in college at the same time. The new FAFSA form still has the question about other people in a student’s household attending college. However, this will not be considered in the federal aid award amount.
This means that parents with more than one child in college will no longer receive a discount for having multiple children enrolled in college.
The new FAFSA has also switched from using the term “household size” to using “family size.” In addition to the term change, family size will no longer be manually reported. Instead, it will be pulled in from the exemptions claimed with the IRS in the 2022 tax year.
Available in More Languages
The new FAFSA form has increased accessibility for students and their families. Previously, the form was only available in English and Spanish. The new form will be available in the 11 most commonly spoken languages in the U.S., expanding accessibility.
FSA IDs without SSNs
Another improvement to the FAFSA form is that students with parents or legal guardians without social security numbers will no longer have to mail in their form. Those without SSNs will now be able to verify their identity through the TransUnion Credit Bureau and receive an electronic FSA ID.
Questions about New FAFSA
Student can also find more resources and information on changes for federal financial aid on get2college.org.