Changes you and your family can expect
The application open date for the 2024-2025 FAFSA is scheduled for December 31, 2023. When filing the 2025-2026 FAFSA, the open date will revert to its historical timeframe of October 1.
The FAFSA will be a student-initiated submission. Parents can begin the FAFSA by selecting they are starting the form as a parent and entering data. Unlike previous versions of the FAFSA, their information submission does not complete the process. This means you, as the student, will need to either initiate the application by establishing a login on studentaid.gov or follow the notification email (provided to you) that indicates a FAFSA has been started on your behalf. You would then provide consent, sign the form, and verify the data
There are sections of the application designated to be completed by the student and sections designated to be completed by the student's parent(s). If a student initiates the FAFSA process, parents are prompted to complete their sections of the FAFSA by the student. This means that once a student has completed the necessary sections of the electronic application, they will be prompted to send an email invitation to their parent, which will direct them to complete the parent/guardian sections of the application. All contributors to the FAFSA will be required to provide consent to retrieve and use federal tax information, which is a change to what is now known as the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will no longer be calculated and used to determine a student’s federal Pell Grant eligibility or eligibility for other need-based federal financial aid. The FAFSA will now use a new formula, the Student Aid Index (SAI), to determine Pell Grant eligibility and other need-based aid. The SAI’s formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, links eligibility to family size and federal poverty level, and allows for one of three formulas to be used when determining federal Pell Grant eligibility and other certain types of federal student aid.
The revised FAFSA is much shorter than the previous version. The application has gone from over 100 questions to less than 50. Questions about Select Service registration and drug convictions have been removed, and questions about applicants' sex and race/ethnicity have been added.