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FAFSA Simplification

2024-25 FAFSA is now available

In an effort to make the application process easier for students and their families, Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act. This Act makes a number of changes to the application process and calculation of financial aid eligibility beginning with the 2024-25 academic year. 

While the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is normally available October 1 each year, due to these significant changes, the 2024-25 FAFSA was delayed until December 31. The December release date is only applicable to the 2024-25 FAFSA. The 2025-26 FAFSA is expected to be available October 2024. 

The U.S. Department of Education has indicated that schools will not receive FAFSA information until sometime in February.

Here are some of the most notable changes beginning with the 2024-25 year:

  • The number of questions on the FAFSA will reduce from 108 to 46. 
  • Married students or parents who file taxes separately, will each be required to obtain an FSA ID.
  • The student, spouse (if applicable), and all parents listed on FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to provide tax information or confirm non-filing status on the FAFSA. This new functionality replaces the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRSDRT).
  • Students with divorced or separated parents will report demographic and financial information for the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support, along with that parent’s spouse, if remarried. This is a change from the parent determination used on the 2023-24 FAFSA and prior years.
  • The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name change accurately describes this calculation as a number used to determine financial aid eligibility. The methodology for calculating eligibility will change with the SAI, allowing for negative values, with the minimum SAI being -1500.
  • Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant will be expanded to consider family size in relation to the federal poverty level. The Pell Grant amount will be impacted by a student’s enrollment intensity (number of credit hours enrolled).

Other Changes will include:

  • The SAI will not be adjusted based on the number of individuals within a household who are in college. The EFC did provide a benefit for those with multiple children in college.
  • Students can list up to 20 colleges on FAFSA, rather than the former maximum of 10.
  • Family size will be based on individuals and dependents listed on the tax return (if a return was filed).
  • The value of small farms or businesses will no longer be excluded from assets. 

You will complete the 2024-25 FAFSA at Watch our website and your Catmail for important updates about the 2024-25 FAFSA. If you have any questions, please email our office at

For additional information on FAFSA simplification visit Federal Student Aid


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