What We Know About the New FAFSA and Financial Aid Offers
As a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act in 2020, the FAFSA has been updated to help millions of students and families maximize their financial aid for college. In the past, the FAFSA has been available in October for families to start their financial aid process – but this year, things are a bit different. The new form has not been released yet (but will by December 31st!). This has been the biggest update in 40 years for the FAFSA and we’re all ready to see what the new application looks like. Here’s what we do know about the updated FAFSA and your student’s college financial aid process so far:
Applicants will be able to pull data from their tax returns.
An exciting new update for the 2024-2025 FAFSA is that you’ll be able to automatically retrieve income from your taxes and the IRS. During the application, families will give consent to the Department of Education to send their identifying information to the IRS, who will match up records and retrieve the necessary financial aid information for the FAFSA. This will save time and provide more accurate responses to income related questions. Families must consent to be able to receive financial aid. If you don’t, the application will be considered a reject. So, make sure you hit the button to consent to this data transfer!
Are there any format updates to the FAFSA?
The FAFSA will still be available on paper if you don’t want to do it electronically – but you’ll still have to consent to the data transfer. Additionally, the new version of the FAFSA has been shortened from the original 110 questions to somewhere around 40-50 questions. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, the questions about drug convictions and selective service have also been waived.
Will the delayed release impact financial aid offers?
Understandably, this is the question most students and families are most worried about. If your student has applied for early decision, it’s likely that the colleges are using old processes to review and process financial aid applications. The schools are estimating aid offers and once the FAFSA arrives, they’ll be able to confirm any information already provided by families. If you’re a current college student and your information is kind of same, your offered financial aid package should come in later in the year.
For students who are applying on the regular timetable, the delay of the FAFSA release is likely to not impact financial aid. Many states and universities have pushed back due dates, so be sure to check your college’s site!
How are the updates impacting Pell Grants or other offers for low to middle income students?
The FAFSA’s calculator for student financial need has changed from the Expected Family Contribution to the Student Aid Index, which is now based on federal poverty guidelines. Honestly, this change will make knowing what you’re going to receive more predictable. The Department of Education has also released a new Federal Student Aid Estimator simulator online. Families can look as early as middle school to determine if college is a realistic option for their students. This may help in the long run with selecting appropriate classes and activities.
Filing the FAFSA, no matter what your financial situation is, is a way to open possibilities for paying for college. I encourage all families and students to file the FAFSA – even if you think you might not qualify for aid. You’d be surprised what’s available! Good luck completing the application this year and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
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.