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The FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted by Congress as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This law reduces the number of questions students will have to answer on the form, makes crucial changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand Pell Grant eligibility, and removes outdated restrictions to make federal student aid more accessible to all students. Expand the headlines below to learn more about the impending changes.

2022-23 and 2023-24

Changes in the prior and the current year already have gone into effect. Click here for a full listing of changes for the 2023-2024 award year.

2024-25 and Beyond

The FAFSA Simplification Act expands eligibility for federal financial aid. It streamlines the financial aid application process for students and families and provides a better user experience in completing the form. It also reduces completion barriers for certain student populations.

Prepare Now

Typically, students can complete the FAFSA starting on Oct. 1. For 2024-25 only, students will begin completing the FAFSA in mid-December.

All contributors will need an FSA ID. The process for getting an FSA ID has changed and may be slower. Students (and parent or spouse, if applicable) should request their FSA ID a few days in advance of completing the FAFSA. A parent or spouse without a Social Security number will be able to get an FSA ID.

Who is considered a contributor? Click here for the full definition and examples of contributors.

How do I or other contributors create an FSA ID? To create an FSA ID, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your Social Security number (SSN)
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address and/or mobile phone number*

You’ll also need to create a memorable username and password, and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget it.

*Providing a mobile phone number and/or email address that you have access to will make it easier to log in to ED online systems and allow you to verify your FSA ID before using it on the FAFSA and additional account recovery options.

Starting in 2024-25, parents and/or spouses who are not U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens can use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to create an FSA ID since their taxes are still required. This Federal Student Aid video can help create a step-by-step FSA ID.

If the parents of a dependent student are not married, the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support is used on the FAFSA even if the student lives with the other parent or the other parent has custody. A remarried parent must include their spouse’s (the student’s stepparent) income. For more information on which parent(s) should be reported, click here.

All contributors will need to provide consent in order to complete the FAFSA. This will transfer 2023 tax information in from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


Here is a summary of the key changes on the 2024-25 FAFSA application:

  •  Family size is based on the number of dependents claimed on the tax return.
  • All business and family farm value (even if fewer than 100 employees) is now reported.
  • The number of students in college is collected, but will not be used in determination of eligibility.
  • There used to be more than 100 questions, now there will be fewer than 40 questions.
  • The current application is available in only English and Spanish; the updated application will eventually be available in 11 languages.
  • Each person completing the FAFSA will do their own section. The parent or spouse will be emailed an invitation to complete the form by the student.
  • There will be a Direct Data Exchange (DDX) between the Department of Education and the IRS to load tax data into the application. This is mandatory and replaces the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). Each person completing the FAFSA will be able to see only their own income data.
  • In prior years, students (or parents) did not have to report financial assets unless their income was $50,000 or higher. The new minimum income to report financial assets is $60,000 or higher.
  • Child support received is now reported as an asset.
  • Contributions to retirement accounts (401k and 403b) are not reported as an asset.
  • Most Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) still must be reported as an asset.
  • The results of the FAFSA used to be sent to the applicant in a document called the Student Aid Report (SAR); it now will be called the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS).


The Future Act requires that every contributor on the FAFSA provides consent to share their tax information in the application so that the IRS can share this information with Federal Student Aid (FSA). All parties whose Federal Tax Information (FTI) is included on a student’s FAFSA form must consent annually.

The consent will be required when a student submits a FAFSA, chooses Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) when starting loan repayment, or submits the Total and Permanent Disability discharge (TPD) within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for totally and permanently disabled students.

The consent is necessary not only for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS but also to use that FTI in the federal student aid application process, as well as do other things such as redisclose that information to certain eligible entities, such as higher education institutions.

If a student, spouse or parent doesn’t provide consent on the FAFSA, the Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated and the student will not be eligible for any federal aid.

New Formula

The number that is the result of the FAFSA used to be called the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). It now will be called the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is an estimate of the amount a student and their family can afford to contribute to the student’s college costs. The SAI is not the balance that the student owes the college.

A new formula will be used to determine the SAI. The new formula allows a minimum SAI of negative $1,500.00 (the EFC minimum was $0).

The new formula increases the Income Protection Allowance (IPA), which is the percentage of income that will not be counted toward the student’s SAI calculation.

In prior years, the EFC was divided by the number of students in the family who are in college. The SAI will not be divided.

Applicants may use Federal Student Aid’s Estimator to determine their SAI for the 2024-25 award year.
*This estimator is not equivalent to completing the free FAFSA application.

Award Package

Each college determines the Cost of Attendance (COA) for their student populations. Changes to that determination include updating housing and food allowances, adding a computer allowance and allowing for professional license fees. It is still the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive. The COA is not the balance that the student owes the college.

The prior eligibility determination tied Pell Grant (Pell) eligibility to the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). The new eligibility determination ties Pell eligibility to family size and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). This could result in increased Pell eligibility for some students.

The maximum and minimum Pell amounts are determined by state of residence, income, family size and poverty guidelines.

The amount of Pell is prorated for less than full-time students in direct proportion to the number of credit hours of enrollment.

Pell Grant Proportions
Enrolled credit hours% of full-time award

Professional Judgment

Students still may apply for Professional Judgment, but the names have changed: Special Circumstances are for changes in financial circumstances and Unusual Circumstances are for situations leading to dependency override.

Students may request a Provisional Independent Student Status. The student will complete the FAFSA as an independent student and will receive an unofficial SAI. The student will work with financial aid staff to apply for Unusual Circumstances.

If a student is approved for Unusual Circumstances, the determination will carry forward to subsequent years if the circumstances are unchanged.