Completing the FAFSA

What's changing on the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

The 2024-25 FAFSA launched December 31, 2023.

The 2024-25 FAFSA is significantly different that prior years.  The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed in 2020 and presents a significant overhaul of the FAFSA application and processing. These changes include the FAFSA application itself, the need analysis that determines federal financial aid eligibility, changes in terminology, as well as updated policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs. 

There are many benefits of the FAFSA simplification act.  These benefits include, but are not limited to, a more streamlined application process for a better user experience, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations.

The FAFSA is shorter and more user-friendly

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions fro 108 to 46.  The FAFSA web application is dynamic which means not all students will be presented with all 46 questions. The streamlined format simplifies the application process and makes it less daunting for students and families. 

Students can list up to 20 colleges

In previous years the FAFSA would only allow up to 10 colleges and universities.

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,  the FAFSA will require consent proivded by all users for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. For most students the IRS data will transfer directly to the FAFSA. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

FAFSA "Contributors" must provide financial information

A contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's FAFSA.  This can include parents, step-parents, or spouses.  

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 and provide the required information on the student's FAFSA. 

Being a contributor does not mean they are financial responsible for a student's educations 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. 

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

If you have completed a FAFSA in the past, then you may be familiar with the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The new term is the Student Aid Index (SAI) and instead of having a low of 0 like the EFC, the SAI will have allow for a negative number as low as -1500. 

The SAI is a number used to determine financial aid eligibility. 

The number in college will not be calculated in the SAI

In previous years the FAFSA took the total number of household members in college into account when calculating the EFC.  Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but that number will not be caculated into the SAI.  

Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets

Families now must 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.

Before Starting the FAFSA

1. Register for an FSAID Username and Password

Registration can be completed at This username and password serves as your electronic signature for the FAFSA. Both you and a parent will need an FSAID. 

2. Gather all your financial documents for the previous year tax forms.
You will need to use the previous year W2s and tax information to complete your FAFSA.  For example, if you are working on the 2024-2025 FAFSA you will need to use your 2022 tax information.