The New FAFSA Application

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Financial aid often is the bridge which allows students to take their dream career to fruition. Federal financial aid assistance has had plenty of face lifts since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Higher Education Act of 1965. The most recent face lift for federal financial aid is the new FAFSA application which is currently generating some buzz in the higher education world.

The Department of Education recently made changes to the FAFSA application which are intended to make it easier and quicker to complete.

The application window has been pushed back

  • In previous years, the opening date for FAFSA applications was October 1st. For the 2024-2025 academic year, the opening date will be sometime in December

Pell Grants (aid that doesn’t have to be repaid) qualification may be automatic for some students

  • Students in certain financial aid categories will automatically qualify for Pell Grant funding.

Less questions on the application

  • The old application had over 100 questions; the new application will have less than 50

Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces the previous Expected Family Contribution (EFC) metric

  • SAI will allow a minimum of -$1,500 when determining financial need, while EFC’s minimum was zero

Reporting parent (contributors) income who provides the most support 

  • Dependent students of divorced or separated parents will now report the income of the parent which provides the most financial support to the student. This is different from previous FAFSA applications in which a student reported income of the parent they lived with for most of the year.

Income exclusions

  • Untaxed income will be excluded from aid analysis

Increase in post secondary schools listed on the application

  • Students can now list up to 20 different post secondary schools on their digital FAFSA application (non-digital applications are still limited to 10 different schools)

Direct Tax data transfer

  • Digital transfer of tax data from the IRS is provided after consent from application contributors is provided

Digital signatures

  • Each contributor on the FAFSA application can now sign using a FSA ID. Each contributor will need to create their own FSA ID through the website

In addition to these changes to the application, students can now track the progress of their submitted FAFSA application! With the later opening date in December, the submission window has shortened, making it even more important to get a FAFSA application submitted as soon as possible.

Xcalibur is committed to ensuring GEAR UP practitioners have the data they need to make decisions about programming. Therefore, our team is working hard to update our database SCRIBE to align with the changes announced by the department of education. A new and improved FAFSA facelift in SCRIBE is in the works! Stay tuned!

Additional Resources:

Need help filling out the FAFSA?

Federal Student Aid Website:

Federal Financial Aid Policy:

What’s Changed for the 24-25 FAFSA Form (video):