How Finding Money for College Is Now Easier Than Ever
For the last 40+ years, students and families have been frustrated by the process of filing the FAFSA. This single document is the key to funding a college education, yet it’s been one of the most notoriously difficult documents to file. Many families often decide to skip the entire process together, even though it’s necessary to file in order to receive financial aid. However, with the release of the 2024-2025 FAFSA, families, students, and financial aid offices alike are hopeful that the once complicated application will be easier to complete and process.
Here are some of the changes we’re excited to see with the opening of the 2024-2025 FAFSA:
- Questions: The number of questions have been reduced around the primary areas, with follow-up subsets depending on the answers given. More information will be directly input from the appropriate federal tax return using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
- EFC: The Expected Family Contribution will be changed to the Student Aid Index (SAI). You can learn more about the changes with the SAI here.
- Pell Grants: More students will be eligible to receive maximum or partial federal Pell grants. The hope is that7 million more students will qualify for the maximum Pell Grant each year, and allow hundreds of thousands more to receive partial awards.
- Form Completion: For students with divorced or separated parents, the parent who provides the greater portion of a student’s financial support will be the one who is responsible for completing the FAFSA.
- COA: Changes are being made to the definition of Cost of Attendance. Colleges will be required to provide more specific cost details on their websites. Some students with extremely low income may be able to qualify for financial aid which exceeds the cost of attendance.
- Untaxed Income: Changes have been implemented to streamline the definition of untaxed income and benefits.
- Income Protection: Important changes have been made to the income protection allowance (IPA) for parents and students, which shelters a portion of income based on a basic living expense standard.
- Multiple Students: Families with multiple members attending college will no longer need to divide the parent assessment among that number, which could in effect reduce the amount of aid available for middle- and high-income families. This is going to be a major change!
- Formula and Appeals: Other changes will be made to the formula used for determining financial aid. There will also be changes to the financial aid appeals process.
The hope, of course, is that all these changes will motivate more families to file a FAFSA and qualify for federal financial aid. The information collected also forms the basis for aid decisions made by state governments, colleges and some private scholarships. As of early January, the FAFSA has been released in a soft launch. This means that it’s accessible – but the site is being regularly monitored for efficiency and you may find that the application can be temporarily unavailable while updates are made. Try not to worry and instead just focus on completing your form.
More about Jodi and College Financial Aid Advisors
Jodi is a FAFSA financial advisor who helps with the financial aid process to help families of college students maximize their financial aid. From completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options, Jodi is a fantastic resource when it comes to student financial aid. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.
Twitter: Now that the 2024-2025 FAFSA has been released in its soft launch, learn about the major changes made to make this form easier and more accessible.
Facebook Tip: The FAFSA is the most important document your family will file to receive funds for college. The Department of Education has been hard at work to make this form easier to complete – see a list of some of the biggest changes made to this year’s application!
Instagram: For the last 40+ years, students and families have been frustrated by the process of filing the FAFSA. This single document is the key to funding a college education, yet it’s been one of the most notoriously difficult documents to file. Many families often decide to skip the entire process together, even though it’s necessary to file in order to receive financial aid. However, with the release of the 2024-2025 FAFSA, families, students, and financial aid offices alike are hopeful that the once complicated application will be easier to complete and process. Check out some of the major changes made to the new FAFSA!