FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA® has been simplified.

The FAFSA Simplification Act prioritized simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) application process, resulting in changes to the 2024–25 FAFSA form, process, and methodologies for determining eligibility for federal aid.

The 2024–25 FAFSA application opened on December 31st rather than its traditional timeframe of October 1st. 

The Office of Student Financial Services is aware of the media coverage and issues surrounding the FAFSA Simplification process and the delayed release of the 2024-25 FAFSA results to institutions. We want to assure you we understand how frustrating the new FAFSA filing process has been and the resulting concerns and challenges created by the newest change in timeline.

Update to FAFSA Timeline

The US Deaprtment of Education (ED) began to release FAFSA data to schools in the second half of March and worked through a variety of technical issues.  The 2024-25 FAFSA application is now being processed within traditional timeframes.

The US Department of Education (ED) announced on March 13, 2024 that they would begin transmitting completed FAFSA data so that the majority of schools would receive small files of at least one student record. This was in support of their previously shared timeline to release data in the first half of March. St. John's received its first small files that included a handful of records. ED anticipated that it will take time to ramp up delivery of data to schools and that once at full scale it will take about an additional two weeks to process all submitted FAFSA applications. No set date provided.

Students who have filed their FAFSA are now able to check the status of their application at studentaid.gov. Log in using FSAID. Navigate to account dasboard select 2024-25 FAFSA form. 

Students who have not yet filed are encouraged to file their 2425 25 FAFSA application as soon as possible.  

Why is it changing?

On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions that amend the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act and includes the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the FAFSA® form and expands access to federal student aid.”

Source: Federal Student Aid: FAFSA® Simplification Fact Sheet

What is changing?

Top 10 Changes

  1. The number of questions has been reduced.
  2. Students and parents who provide information on the FAFSA® are considered “contributors.”
  3. Demographic questions have been added to the FAFSA®. Information gathered is for data collection purposes only and will not be shared with schools.
  4. Questions about Selective Service registration and drug convictions have been removed.
  5. Family size will be determined using federal tax return data, but can be adjusted if it does not reflect the student’s current family size.
  6. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI) and a new needs analysis formula has been implemented.
  7. Federal Pell grant eligibility is now linked to family size and the federal poverty level.
  8. Contributors need to provide consent to retrieve federal tax information and/or to confirm nontax filing status.
  9. For students whose parents are divorced, separated, or who live apart, the FAFSA® must be completed by the parent who provides the most financial support to the student.
  10. The federal needs analysis formula no longer takes the number of colleges into consideration.

Are you interested in learning more?