What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

Due to the passing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act on December 27, 2020, as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the FAFSA is changing for the 2024-2025 aid year.

You can expect the following changes:

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until December 2023.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA determines your financial aid eligibility for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 terms.

The FAFSA application process will be streamlined and easier for students to complete.

New terminology will be added to the FAFSA.

SSEligibility for federal financial aid will be expanded.

We will continue to update this page as additional information becomes available. You can learn more about the specific changes, timeline, and how to prepare below.

FAFSA changes for 2024-2025

Authentication Requirements

All contributors to the FAFSA must be authenticated using a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).

  • Users who have not previously completed a FAFSA and still need to create an FSA ID should do so as soon as possible at gov. To obtain an FSA ID, users will need a social security number (SSN) or undergo a knowledge-based match to validate their identity.


Parent Invitations to Complete FAFSA

Students will complete their section of the FAFSA first, then indicate which parent(s) should be invited via email to complete their parts of the FAFSA:

  • One parent (if single parent) or if parents are married and filed joint 2022 tax returns.
  • Two parents (if parents married, filed separately in 2022).
  • For other parent situations not listed above, refer to the FAFSA for instructions.


Contributors Must Provide Consent and Sign FAFSA

All students and parent(s) contributing to the FAFSA must provide consent on the 2024-25 FAFSA to have their 2022 tax information released from the IRS to the Department of Education.

  • Contributors must use their FSA ID to access the FAFSA form, answer questions, provide consent, and sign the form electronically.
  • The FAFSA will not be submitted for processing until ALL contributors provide consent and sign.
  • Consent to releasing tax information cannot be revoked and is mandatory for the Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation to be completed and for the student to be eligible for federal aid.
    • Students or parents who are non-tax filers must still provide consent and manually enter income data

These federal aid requirements, rights and responsibilities have not changed or had minor updates:

  1. The FAFSA remains required annually for federal aid consideration and is available to U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens. How to apply for FAFSA
  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 a significant reduction in income due to extenuating circumstances can still request special circumstances review.
  5. Federal Education Loans requirements remain the same.
  6. Federal Aid Rights and responsibilities also didn't change.
    1. Withdrawing Early
    2. Participation Requirements
  7. Academic Requirements for Federal Aid are still required to maintain eligibility.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI), which is the result of a processed FAFSA and is used for packaging financial aid. Things to note on the SAI for 2024-25:

  • Two New Calculations: Separate calculations are now utilized for determining SAI and Pell Grant eligibility, with new data elements being used in each formula.
  • Multiple Family Members in College: Having multiple family members in college is no longer factored into the calculation of the SAI.
  • Farm and Small Business Reporting Requirements: Details such as net worth of farms (excluding primary residences) and small businesses are now required to be reported.
  • Asset Information: There are new rules to determine who is exempt from providing asset information. These rules are based on AGI, tax filing status, and if they are a recipient of a means-tested federal benefit program in the prior two calendar years (2022 or 2023).
  • No Alternative SAI: The SAI for a student will be the same if enrolled for fall only or for the entire year. There is no change to the SAI if enrolled for less than nine months.

Students will now be considered for one of three types of Pell Grants: maximum, minimum, or a calculated Pell amount. Eligibility is now based on dependency status, family size, parent’s marital status, income (AGI), a multiplier of the federal poverty level, and enrollment status. All students enrolled for at least one credit hour will now receive consideration for a Pell Grant.

  • New Provisional Independent Status: If a dependent student indicates they have unusual circumstances that prevent them from providing parent data, they will have their FAFSA processed with a provisional independent status. The student must provide documentation to financial aid administrators to determine if the student should be considered independent.
  • Professional Judgements: A new requirement states financial aid offices must publicly share that students have the option to pursue a professional judgment adjustment on a case-by-case basis. There are several occasions when an adjustment may be needed, such as when there are changes to a parent’s income or cost of attendance increases from a study-abroad experience.

As we transition to the revamped FAFSA, we anticipate potential processing delays and increased questions about the FAFSA. While many Pell Grant recipients may receive a similar amount as they did in 2023-24, others could be eligible for the first time. Students with multiple family members in college or who own a farm or small business may be the most impacted by this year’s changes. We will work with these families to navigate the transition and review any financial aid offers significantly different from last year. As always, it is critical for students and families applying for financial aid to pay attention to important dates and deadlines. Refer to studentaid.gov for questions about FAFSA Simplification and to estimate a student's federal financial aid.

Best Practices for Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2024-25

Before you start:

  • Create or reconfirm your FSA ID. Everyone who needs to provide information on the FAFSA needs an FSA ID. This includes the student, the student's parents or stepparents (if the student is a dependent), and the student's spouse (if applicable).
  • Gather your tax information. You will need to provide tax information for the student and their parents or stepparents, if applicable.

Steps to complete the FAFSA:

  1. Go to studentaid.gov and log in with your FSA ID.
  2. Complete the Student Section of the FAFSA.
  3. Indicate any contributors to your FAFSA. This includes your parents or stepparents (if you are a dependent student) and your spouse (if applicable).
  4. Ask your contributors to create FSA IDs and complete their sections of the FAFSA.
  5. Review your FAFSA and submit it.


  • Start early. Some FAFSA funds are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so submitting it as early as possible is best.
  • Be accurate. Provide complete and accurate information on the FAFSA. Any errors or omissions could delay your application or even make you ineligible for financial aid.
  • Keep copies of all supporting documents. If selected by Federal Student Aid, you may be asked to provide copies of your tax returns, W-2s, and other documents to verify your information.
  • Contact us for help if you have any questions about the FAFSA or need assistance completing it.

Additional information on contributors:

  • If you are a dependent student, you must indicate your parents or stepparents as contributors on the FAFSA.
  • If your parents are married and filed joint 2022 tax returns, only one parent needs to complete the FAFSA as a contributor.
  • If your parents are married and filed separate 2022 tax returns, both parents need to complete the FAFSA as contributors.
  • If your parents are divorced, separated, or never married, the parent who provides the most financial support should complete the FAFSA as a contributor.
  • If you are married, you must indicate your spouse as a contributor on the FAFSA.

What happens after you submit the FAFSA:

Once you submit the FAFSA, it will be processed by the Federal Student Aid office. You will receive a notification once your FAFSA has been processed. You can then check your financial aid status on your studentaid.gov account.

Once we receive your application at our school, we will contact you.

Why is the release of the 2024-25 FAFSA delayed until late December 2023?

  • The delay is due to the FAFSA Simplification Act, a large-scale update to the federal aid system that includes an overhaul of the FAFSA form and the entire application processing system. The act also changes the need analysis methodology used for awarding aid, and introduces new formulas for awarding Federal Pell Grants, ultimately aimed at expanding access for students.

Who needs a StudentAid.gov account, and what is it used for? 

All students and contributors must create an account if they are: 

  • Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form 
  • Signing your Master Promissory Note (MPN) 
  • Applying for repayment plans 
  • Completing loan counseling 
  • Using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool 

How do I create an account? 

To create an account, go to StudentAid.gov and click "Get Started." You will need to provide: 

  • Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) 
  • Full name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Email address 
  • Mobile phone number 

You will also need to create a memorable username and password and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget it. 

When should I create an account? 

You can create an account at studentaid.gov at any time, but it is recommended that you create it at least a week or two before you start filling out the FAFSA form. This will give you time to verify your account and make sure that it is working properly. 

What if I need help creating an FSA ID? 

 This step-by-step guide can help with detailed information.  

Do both parents need to create an account or just one like before? 

This depends on the family's situation. For example, if a student has married parents filing taxes separately, both parents will need to create an account. 

What is the impact if the student and parent already have an FSA ID? Do they need to create another StudentAid.Gov account?

None. Just ensure they are verified and ready to use when the FAFSA 2024-25 opens sometime in December 2023. 

Who are contributors for FAFSA 2024-25 purposes? 

A contributor is anyone required to provide consent and approval for obtaining federal tax information needed to complete a student's FAFSA. If applicable, it may include: 

  • Student 
  • Student's spouse
  • Biological or adopted parent 
  • Parent's spouse (stepparent) 

Who are not contributors? 

  • Grandparents 
  • Foster parents 
  • Legal guardians 
  • Brothers or sisters 
  • Aunts or uncles 

How are contributors determined? 

The student's or parent's answers to certain questions on the FAFSA form will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. 

What do contributors need to provide? 

  • Name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Social Security number 
  • Email address 
  • Personal and financial information 

What steps do contributors need to follow? 

  1. Receive an email informing you that you've been identified as a contributor. 
  2. Create a StudentAid.gov account if you don't already have one. 
  3. Log in to your account using your FSA ID account username and password.
  4. Review information about completing your section of the FAFSA form. 
  5. Provide the required information on the student's FAFSA form. 

What if I am a contributor and don't want to provide my information? 

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. 

In cases where biological parents are not married, who should provide information on the FAFSA? 

  • The parent who provides the most financial support should complete it.  
  • If one parent pays child support, that parent should complete the FAFSA if the child support amounts to more than half of the student's support.  
  • If a dependent student's parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will need to complete the FAFSA as contributors. 
  • If the parent who provides most financial support is remarried, that parent and the stepparent's income should be on the FAFSA, even if they were not yet married on the requested tax year.   

Why do I need to provide consent?  

  • The Future Actrequires all contributors on the FAFSA to provide consent to share their tax information with the IRS. This consent is necessary for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS and to use that information in the federal student aid application process. 

What happens if I don't provide consent?  

  • If you, as a student, or a spouse or parent, don't provide consent on the FAFSA, you will not be eligible for any federal aid. 

What happens after someone provides consent, or Federal Taxes Information (FTI) Approval, on the 2024-25 FAFSA? 

  • Providing consent allows the Department of Education to use your name and social security number to match with the IRS so the IRS may share your tax information with the Department of Education to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid. 

Do I still need to provide consent if I had a low income and was not required to file taxes or even if I had zero wages?  

  • Every contributor still needs to provide consent on the FAFSA, so the IRS can confirm to Federal Student Aid (FSA) that you, your parents, or spouse didn't file taxes. 

What happens if a contributor provides consent but doesn't sign the application?  

  • Starting 2024-25, all parties must complete the FAFSA application online. 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 and get into the application and complete their section.  

Can graduate or professional students include their parents' information on the 2024-25 FAFSA?

  • No, recent changes prohibit independent students from including parental information on the FAFSA for federal student aid. However, for loans administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Title VII and VIII (for students enrolled in medical, dental, or pharmacy programs), parental information is required and will be collected on a separate form available on MyUI. This form must be completed in addition to the 2024-25 FAFSA.


Will students still be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)?  

No. Starting FAFSA 2024-25, the DRT will no longer exist. Federal Student Aid (FSA) will now directly transfer Federal Tax Information (FTI) from the IRS into the FAFSA form as long as you have provided FSA with the consent to do so. 

Will non-custodial parents be contributors if they have not claimed the child on their taxes?  

Yes. Starting with the Simplified FAFSA, students will determine which parent to report based on which one provides the most financial support. The reported parents will provide consent to transfer their taxes data even if they do not claim the student on their taxes. 

If parents who are remarried provide more financial support to the child than a biological parent, does the stepparent have to provide their tax information?  

Yes. If the parent providing more financial support is remarried, the stepparent's tax information is required. 

What if my parent or stepparent does not want to provide their tax information for my FAFSA?  

We cannot provide tax advice, but our Federal Aid Counselors can offer to talk directly with the parent or stepparent to explain why the Department of Education requires their information. 

Can my parent or I self-report our income on FAFSA?  

Yes, but you still need to provide consent. We recommend you choose FAFSA provide your income from IRS taxes. If your situation has changed from the required tax year, please contact our office to request an appeal.  

What if I had a low income and was not required to file taxes?  

Students whose parents were not required to file a federal income tax return will automatically receive a SAI of -1500. 

Why are assets different on the FAFSA 2024-25?  

Starting 2024–25 award year, some financial information previously considered income or previously excluded from asset reporting will be required as assets instead. These include: 

  • Annual amount of child support received. 
  • Net worth of all businesses, regardless of the size or number of employees. 
  • Net worth of farm including the value of a family farm (family primary's residence is still excluded). This includes the fair market value of land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts help against those assets. 
  • For dependent students, education savings accounts will only be counted as parental assets if the account is designated for the student.  

What is the SAI? 

The SAI is a measure of a student's financial aid need. It is calculated using information the student (and contributors, if required) provides on the FAFSA form. 

What is the difference between the SAI and EFC? 

The SAI is replacing the EFC starting in the 2024–25 award year. The main difference between the two is that the SAI does not consider the number of family members in college. 

How is Pell Grant eligibility determined based on SAI? 

Students may qualify for a maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), poverty guidelines, and tax filing status. Students with a negative or 0 SAI are eligible for the maximum Pell Grant. 

What is the parallel between the 2024-25 Negative SAI and Pell Grant? 

  • Students with a negative SAI are eligible for the maximum Pell Grant. 
  • Non-tax filers receive automatic -1500 SAI. The maximum EFC was 0 (zero). 
  • AGI, household size, and federal poverty guidelines determine Pell Grant eligibility. 

How will Pell Grant be awarded?  

Pell grant will no longer be awarded per enrollment category, but per amount of credits, as shown in the table below. 

What are unusual circumstances? 

Unusual circumstances are when a student is unable to contact a parent or where contact with the parent poses a risk to the student. Examples include human trafficking, legally granted refugee or asylum status, parental abandonment or estrangement, and student or parental incarceration. 

How can I be considered an independent student? 

To be considered an independent student, you must meet one of the following criteria and provide documentation: 

  • Born before January 1, 2001 
  • Married (and not separated) 
  • A graduate or professional student 
  • A veteran 
  • Currently serving active duty in the US armed forces for purposes other than training
  • A member of the armed forces 
  • An orphan 
  • A ward of the court 
  • Someone with children who receive more than half of their support from you
  • Someone with legal dependents other than a spouse 
  • An emancipated minor 
  • Someone who is unaccompanied and homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless 

What other types of professional judgment appeals can students and families request? 

Other types of professional judgment appeals include: 

  • Appeals for changes in income or expenses 
  • Appeals for changes in dependency status 
  • Appeals for changes in cost of attendance 
  • Appeals for changes in awards