This year, students will have to add another New Year’s resolution to their list: completing the annual FAFSA form.
The 2024-25 form for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will open for students on Dec. 31, according to the launch announcement on the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website.
In order to improve the user experience, the form will no longer have 108 questions.
FAFSA is now composed of 46 questions and applicants will be able to skip 26 of them depending on the student’s “individual circumstances,” according to the website.
The website had no details of what “individual circumstances” can entail. Some applicants will only need to complete 18 out of all form questions, which FSA estimates to take around 10 minutes.
Financial need will be calculated differently, taking away the impact of other family members enrolled in college, Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced by Student Aid Index (SAI) allowing negative SAI to show that the applicant has greater need for aid.
Applicants can still get an estimated cost after completing the form.
There were six main changes with the new form, according to the FSA YouTube video. The changes include:
- Spouses and stepparents will be added to the EFC index in the “Who is a Contributor” part of the 2024-25 form.
- Every contributor – including parents, spouses and stepparents – will need their own profile in the FSA website.
- The applicants’ federal tax information, submitted into the form, will be directly transferred from their Internal Revenue Service (IRS) account.
- The transferring of information will need to have the applicant’s consent and approval in order to make them eligible for aid.
- Applicants will be able to monitor progress of their contributor’s forms and the status of their application.
- After completing applications, the form will be sent to up to 20 educational institutions including colleges, trade schools and career schools, instead of the previous 10.
The launch included further updates on eligibility for aid, allowing 61,000 students to apply for Federal Pell Grants with the 2024-25 form, according to FSA.
While waiting for Dec. 31, applicants are encouraged to remind their contributors about the form and check for all documents needed for application.