The FAFSA is Changing for 2024-25
Major changes and improvements are coming to the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
On December 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions regarding the FAFSA Simplification Act, which required a redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. The law specifically makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as well as expands access to federal student aid.
We will continue to update this webpage as best we can as we receive more information from the Department of Education. However, for up to date changes to the FAFSA form visit StudentAid.gov.
FAFSA availability date
As a result of all the changes, instead of opening in October, the new form will be available this year by December 31, 2023. This is only temporary. After the 2024-25 aid year, the FAFSA will be available in October as usual.
Streamlined application process
The FAFSA will feature fewer questions and contributors can retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
New terminology and information
The FAFSA is introducing the new term contributor, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student's college costs.
- If your parents are divorced or separated, the contributing parent(s) is the parent (and their spouse, if remarried) who provided the greater portion of your financial support during the 12 months immediately prior to filing the FAFSA. It is not automatically the parent you primarily lived with during the past 12 months.
- All Contributors–student, student's spouse (if married), and student's parents(s) (if a dependent student)–must provide consent to have tax data transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. If consent is not provided by all parties, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional. It is now required!
- Consent is required even if a contributor did not file taxes. If consent is not provided by all parties, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid.
The need analysis formula to determine financial aid, formerly known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will now be referred to as the Student Aid Index (SAI). Unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number.
Small businesses and family farms are now considered assets.
- Applicants will be asked to report the net worth of all businesses, regardless of the size of the business
- Net worth of a farm now includes the value of a family farm. However, the value of a family’s primary residence is still excluded. The net worth of a farm may include the fair market value of the land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts held against those assets.
Assets now include the annual amount of child support received.
The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA, but it will be excluded from the federal and state financial aid calculation.
The Student Aid Report (SAR) will now be referred to as the FAFSA Submission Summary. This is the summary submission document you receive after completing the FAFSA.
Prepare for the FAFSA
Although the 2024-25 FAFSA won’t be available until December, you can still ACT NOW on the following:
Create an FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website:
- Remember this username and password so you can access and submit the 2024-25 FAFSA form when it is available. FSA IDs take about 3 days to be verified.
- Who needs an FSA ID? All FAFSA contributors. A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA.
- FSA IDs cannot be shared; each contributor needs to have their own individual unique username and password.
- Even if a parent or spouse contributor does not have a Social Security number, they can still get an FSA ID using their ITIN to fill out their portion of the FAFSA form online. If no ITIN is available, another verification process is in development, please be patient as the Department of Education makes this new process available.
The 2024-25 FAFSA will ask for income from 2022. Make sure each contributor to the FAFSA has completed their 2022 income tax return if required.
Expanding Pell Grant eligibility
The adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation will expand Federal Pell Grant eligibility to more students.
Pell Grant eligibility
Pell Grant eligibility will be determined in one of three ways:
- Maximum Pell Grant - Students may qualify for a maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income, poverty guidelines, and tax filing status. Students qualifying for a maximum Pell Grant will have a Student Aid Index (SAI) between –1500 and 0.
- Student Aid Index (SAI) - Students who don’t qualify for a maximum Pell Grant may still be eligible if their calculated SAI is less than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year. The student’s Pell Grant award will be equal to the maximum Pell Grant for the award year minus their SAI.
- Minimum Pell Grant - Students whose SAI is greater than the maximum Pell Grant award for the award year may still be eligible for a Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income, and poverty guidelines.
Availability of professional judgments
Section 479A of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, gives financial aid administrators the authority to exercise “professional judgment” to address the special circumstances that may arise for students and their families who apply for federal financial aid. The FAFSA Simplification Act distinguishes between different categories of professional judgment by amending section 479A of the HEA.
- Special Circumstances refer to the financial situation (loss of job, reduction of income) that justify adjusting the data elements in the cost of attendance (COA) or in the Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation.
- Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status, commonly known as a dependency override. Situations may include but are not limited to, homelessness, unable to locate parent, imprisonment of parent, abuse/neglect, etc. Starting in the 2024–25 award year, applicants who indicate on their FAFSA® form that they have unusual circumstances will be granted provisional independent status.
Financial aid administrators may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation. It is possible for a student to have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. Professional judgments must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Students may request an adjustment during the time they are applying for financial aid assistance to attend Hampshire College or when a change in circumstances arises. Adjustments made for special circumstances are only valid for one year, however, students can request a review for special circumstances each year they are enrolled.
A financial aid administrator will make the final determination of a student’s unusual circumstances based on the documentation that the student submits to the school, or the financial aid administrator may perform their own personal assessment. If a school approves a student’s unusual circumstances, their independent student status will remain as long as the student stays at the same school and their circumstances don’t change.
All unusual circumstances must be documented.
Please contact the financial aid office at 413-559-5484 or via email at email@example.com to discuss your Special or Unusual Circumstance. We will guide you to the next steps and inform you of the documentation required to review your situation.