2024-2025 FAFSA Changes: What Students Need to Know

Big changes are coming to how students apply for financial aid in the 2024-2025 school year.

Thanks to a new law called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act, which became official on December 27, 2020, the process is getting a makeover. This law is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act and brings some major shifts to how students and their families go about applying for federal student aid. From making it easier for the Department of Education to get tax information to changing how eligibility is figured out, these adjustments are pretty important. We break down these changes to help students, parents, and contributors understand what's happening and what they need to do.

What is changing?

As part of the Consolidated Appropriates Act of 2021:

The FUTURE ACT allows the Department of Education to automatically obtain federal tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for students, parents, and other contributors (such as a spouse or stepparent). It also requires consent from students and other contributors separately. 

The FAFSA Simplification Act introduces significant changes to the FAFSA application process, including changes to the FAFSA form. This will lead to changes in how students complete the application and how eligibility is calculated.

As part of the Consolidated Appropriates Act of 2022: 

The FAFSA Simplification Technical Corrections Act grants additional changes, including:

  • extended FAFSA simplification timeline,
  • updated language associated with Cost of Attendance (COA),
  • flexibility for assisting students with unusual circumstances, and
  • modified terms and conditions for students that qualify for Pell Grant funds, based upon meeting special conditions currently associated with the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant and the Children of Fall Heroes Grant.

What is not changing?

The following federal aid requirements, rights, and responsibilities have not changed or have had only minor updates:

  1. The FAFSA is still required annually for federal aid consideration and is available to U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens. 
  2. Questions introduced in 2023-24 about the applicant's sex, race, and ethnicity have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and remain only for statistical purposes.
  3. Dependency status questions to determine if your parents must provide their information remain the same.
  4. FAFSA will still request prior-prior year tax information. Families that had significant reduction in income due to extenuating circumstances can still submit a special circumstances appeal.
  5. Federal Education Loan requirements remain the same.
  6. Federal Aid Rights & Responsibilities also did not change. Current Rights & Responsibilities can be found on Form 1: Financial Aid Information Form.
  7. Academic Requirements for Federal Aid are still needed to maintain eligibility. These requirements may be found in the college catalog.

To learn more, please visit the Financial Aid page to review our FAFSA Resources & Frequently Asked Questions. For any other questions or assistance, you may also reach out to the Financial Aid Office at (815) 921-4150.