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It Is FAFSA Time Again

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It Is FAFSA Time AgainIt’s September, that time of year when our thoughts turn to fall and pumpkin spice everything. Fall is when there is less light during the day, and also the time when there are fewer days until the FAFSA. Yes, that’s right – it’s FAFSA time again! Come October 1, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the academic year of 2023-2024 will officially be available.

Anyone hoping to qualify for financial aid at the federal, state, or institutional level should be prepared to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. You want to leave wiggle room to make any revisions or corrections, and give colleges sufficient time to consider your information. Some funds are limited, so you also want to give yourself the best shot at qualifying.

Although there has been a lot of talk about simplifying the FAFSA, you will probably not be able to notice a lot of changes yet on this year’s form. Here is what is new so far for FAFSA 2023-2024:

      • Simplification: FSA continues to work on FAFSA simplification, and is reducing questions accordingly. Questions that will not be on this year’s form include male/female identification and registration for Selective Service.
      • Drug Convictions: FSA has removed the drug convictions question and worksheet. Drug convictions will no longer affect student eligibility to receive federal student aid.
      • User Role: Users filling out information can select their role in the application process from a few different options — parent, preparer, or student.
      • State Aid Applications: Students and parents may be eligible to transfer their FAFSA information into a state aid application. Participating states include Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
      • Mobile App: FSA is retiring the myStudentAid mobile application. Users will not be able to submit the application via the mobile app any longer, but will still be able to complete the FAFSA application on a mobile device by navigating to on their mobile browser.
      • Incarcerated Students: Incarcerated students will regain the ability to receive a Federal Pell Grant. To address this legislative change, FAFSA is making system changes.
      • Income: The income threshold for an automatic zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) increased from $27,000 to $29,000 for the 2023-2024 award year.
      • Demographic Survey: A new Demographic Survey has been added. Users will be asked to provide the student’s gender, race, and ethnicity prior to submitting the FAFSA application. Questions must have a response, but the response can be “Decline to Answer.” Your responses to these questions will not affect your federal financial aid award.
      • Multiple Students: Parents who have multiple students attending college may be eligible to transfer their FAFSA information into a new application from the original student’s confirmation page.
      • Schools: Students are able to view additional information about the schools they selected on their FAFSA form for easy comparison of schools.
      • Corrections: Students and parents can correct or update an application once it is processed.

Keep in mind that the FAFSA will be based on information provided in your 2021 federal income tax return. If you have already completed it, you should be able to access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically populate many of the questions on your application.

This may seem like a lot, but it really is not, especially in terms of the bigger changes that have been anticipated for some time. There is a FAFSA Simplification Act in place, and we do expect to see major changes in the coming years. If you have any questions about what this year’s FAFSA will look like, or need to know how any of these revisions affect you and your family, CFAA is here to help.

We consult with students and parents to plan for every step of the college financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my bi-weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter.

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