INCOMING: FIVE Changes to the FAFSA Form!

Have you been wondering how the FAFSA Simplification Act has changed the look of the FAFSA form for the 2024-25 award year? A few months ago, we wrote about what the Simplification Act is, now we want to dig deeper into the form itself. Today we are diving into some of the biggest updates you’ll find on the FAFSA form.

Student filling out the FAFSA form

Five Changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA Form:

1. Fewer Questions: Previously on the FAFSA form, there were over 100 questions. The new FAFSA Simplification Act removes questions about Selective Service registration and drug convictions, changes what is required for some of the income questions, and adds inquiries about sex, race, and ethnicity, without affecting federal student aid eligibility.

2. Automatic Data Retrieval: Instead of applicants importing their tax data using a retrieval tool that re-directs users to the IRS and back, the application will do this step automatically after consent is given. This feature eliminates the need for manual data entry, which reduces errors and saves time for applicants.

3. Simplified Dependency Determination: The Act has modified the criteria that determine a student’s marital dependency status. Students that are separated will no longer be considered married. Therefore, they should NOT indicate they are married on their FAFSA form. As a result, they will be considered dependent students if other questions didn’t already allocate an independent status (like age for example). The act also changes the definition of “Veteran,” in determining independent status. You can read more about changes to the veteran status from the Department of Education.

4. Language Expansion: The new FAFSA form will now be available in at least 11 new languages. Previously it was only available in English and Spanish.

5. Streamlined Verification Process: Lastly, the Simplification Act reduces the number of students selected for verification. Verification is a process that requires additional documentation to confirm the accuracy of information provided on the FAFSA form. You can read more about why verification is so important in our other blogs!

These changes are intended to remove unnecessary complexities to an already confusing process for prospective students. By opening the FAFSA form up to more languages, with less questions aims to also contribute to a more equitable and inclusive system. While these changes are significant and at times overwhelming, that is where Financial Aid Services kicks in as your trusted partner in these rolling updates.

We’re here for you every step of the way as we get closer and closer to the 24/25 award year. Be sure to read up on the differences between EFC and SAI in our other blog: “SAI Versus EFC: Understanding the New Student Aid Index,” and remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed, we are just a phone call away.

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