2024-25 FAFSA Changes

Last Updated: March 22, 2024
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FAFSA Simplification: What to Expect

Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application beginning with the 2024-25 aid year!

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

2024-25 FAFSA Timeline Update — March

After months of waiting the Department of Education has begun sending completed 24-25 FAFSAs to institutions. We are working to package students with all eligible financial aid. We appreciate your patience during this time. Please take a moment to verify that your FAFSA submission is complete and signed.​

Timeline Update — January

On January 30, 2024 the Department of Education released a statement regarding the FAFSA process and timeline. In this statement, institutions were notified that the FAFSA is undergoing additional updates to account for inflation costs. These updates will delay institutions receiving the completed FAFSAs until mid-March.

2024-25 Soft Launch Beginning January 1, 2024

The Department of Education has started the soft launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA form. During this period, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) will initiate pauses for site maintenance and to make technical updates as needed to provide you with a better experience.

What to Expect

Students and families will have ample time to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA and do not need to rush to fill out the form immediately. Completed FAFSA forms will not be sent to schools until the end of January. The best time to complete the FAFSA will be mid-January.

Here is what students and families can expect during the soft launch:

  • Contributors (the student, parent, student’s spouse, or parent’s spouse), including those without a Social Security number (SSN), will be able to create a StudentAid.gov account to access and complete the online FAFSA form. Contributors who already have a verified account username and password will use their existing credentials to sign in and access the form.
  • FSA will initiate pauses for site maintenance and to make updates as needed to create a better FAFSA Experience for students and families.
  • Applicants may experience a waiting room feature, which will help control website volumes to ensure optimal performance of the form.
  • Students that complete the form during the soft launch period, will have their information stored for processing. They do NOT need to return to resubmit their application after the soft launch concludes.
  • If a student completes their FAFSA form, but a contributor cannot access the site during a period when the site is unavailable, the contributor can return to complete their portion of the form as soon as the site becomes available again. Any data entered in the form is still in the system and is secure.
  • If FSA initiates site maintenance while a student or contributor is completing an application, their data is securely saved in the system as they progress through the application.
  • If FSA initiates site maintenance while a student or contributor is completing an application, their data is securely saved in the system as they progress through the application.

A More User-Friendly Application

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. This streamlined format will simplify the application process for students and their families.

The IRS Direct Data Exchange

Previously known as the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT), the new application will introduce the IDR Direct Data Exchange. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive 2022 tax information or verification of non-filing status directly from the IRS. This change reduces the need for additional questions regarding financial information.

Contributor in Cases of Divorce or Separation

For students whose parents are divorced or separated, the Custodial Parent on your FAFSA will be the parent who provides you with the most financial support and no longer the parent you lived with the most over the past 12 months.

All “Contributors” Must Provide Financial Information

Contributor: anyone asked to provide information on the FAFSA – student, student spouse, parent (s) and stepparent (s).
Each contributor must provide consent to the exchange of data between the Department of Education and the IRS. Failure to consent will cause the student to be ineligible for federal aid.

The Number of Dependents in College

Previously, the FAFSA took into consideration the number of dependents in college within the household. This is no longer going to be included in the SAI calculation. Due to this, Bethel undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change to their federal aid eligibility.

Family Farms Reported as Assets

Families must now report the value of their small business or family farm.

Students May List Up to 20 Colleges

Previously, the FAFSA allowed students to select 10 colleges and universities. This new application will allow students to select up to 20.

Available in More Languages

The FAFSA is currently available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken in the United States.

Student Aid Index (SAI)

The new FAFSA replaces the term “Expected Family Contribution (EFC)” with “Student Aid Index (SAI).” This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility.

Terminology Changes

  • Contributor: anyone asked to provide information on the FAFSA – student, student spouse, parent(s) and stepparent(s).
  • Consent: Contributors must now consent to their Federal Tax Information (FTI) included in the FAFSA, even if they did not file a U.S. tax return.
  • Student Aid Index (SAI): SAI replaces Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Federal Tax Information (FTI): FTI transferred directly from the IRS

How to Be Prepared

  • Create an FSA ID: Visit the Federal Student Aid website and create an FSA ID for the student and any contributors, such as parent(s) or spouse. The FSA ID will be used to access and sign the FAFSA.
    If you already have an FSA ID, there is no need to create a new one. Your existing FSA ID will continue to work.
  • Estimate your federal financial aid: For an estimate of your federal financial aid for 2024-25, you can visit the Federal Student Aid Estimator. This tool estimates the Student Aid Index (SAI) for 2024-25 and the federal aid for which you may qualify.

FAFSA Information

Apply by April 15 to receive maximum aid.

To complete the FAFSA you will need the following information:

  • An FSA ID (username/password) or an email address to create one
  • Social Security Number or Alien number
  • Date of birth
  • Federal tax information
  • Bethel School Code: 001787

Have more questions?

Feel free to contact our financial aid office with additional questions.