2024-25 FAFSA Changes
FAFSA Simplification Act
Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-2025 aid year!
The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.
2024-2025 FAFSA Available in December 2023
Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1 each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA will not be available until sometime in December 2023. Updates on an exact date will be posted here when announced.
What is changing with the FAFSA?
There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).
Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:
- All "contributors" must provide financial information
A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
Contributors will receive an email informing them that they've been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don't already have one) to provide the required information on the student's FAFSA.
Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.
- Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange
Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.
- The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly
The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students won't even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.
- Students may list up to 20 colleges
Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.
- The FAFSA will be available in more languages
Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.
- The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI
Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, Lycoming College students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.
- Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant
Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.
- The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed
For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parents the student had lived with most in the last twelve months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.
- Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets
When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.
What is not changing?
While the FAFSA is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that will not change.
- For Lycoming College students, the FAFSA application remains the only application required for determining federal, state and Lycoming College aid.
- The general types of aid available to Lycoming students and federal student loan limits will not change.
- The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
- Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA will remain the same.
- The FAFSA will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you will report 2022 income and taxes on your 2024-25 application.
When should I submit the 2024-25 FAFSA?
Both new and returning students should submit the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December 2023 to be considered for aid in fall 2024 and spring 2025. All applicants should submit the FAFSA PRIOR TO MAY 1, 2024. Applicants filing the FAFSA after the May 1 deadline will likely not receive state grant and/or Lycoming College funding they may have otherwise been eligible for.
The Lycoming College Office of Financial Aid is dedicated to providing timely updates to students and families. Due to the significant amount of changes that are occurring, portions of our website may not yet be 100% accurate for the 2024-2025 academic year. We will continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid, and appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.