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FAFSA Changes

A student uses a laptop in a backyard by the water.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is changing for the 2024-2025 aid year as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act.


2024-2025 FAFSA Updates

The 2024-2025 FAFSA, which determines your financial aid eligibility for Fall 2024, Spring 2025 and Summer 2025, opened Dec. 31, 2023. The FAFSA is readily available to complete; however, the Department of Education continues to track  with the new form. 

Changes to the FAFSA form include:

  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid.
  • A streamlined application process with fewer questions, making the FAFSA easier for students and parents to complete. 
  • New financial aid terminology.

UWF and Department of Education Updates

Although schools should have had access to submit FAFSA corrections by the "end of June", the ED announced the federal systems are not ready. The ED announced functionality should be released "in the next few days". Further, the ED said it will be "at least a week" before it begins fully processing paper FAFSAs.

As an update to the May 10th notice, the ED announced schools will be unable to make FAFSA corrections through batch institutional corrections until the "first half of August". In "late June" schools should be able to make corrections directly to the federal system; however, this process would be on an individual student-level basis. Meaning, students selected for verification or submit a Professional Judgment Appeal may be impacted by this delay. 

Due to increased data errors via the 2024-2025 FAFSA, additional  from the ED to clarify conflicting information. When conflicting information is present, UWF is federally required to resolve prior to determining eligibility or releasing federal student aid. For any FAFSA aid year, an institution is required to resolve conflicting information regardless of the source or whether the student is selected for verification. However, due to increased errors seen in 2024-2025, the ED announced clarification to the already established federal requirement. The type of documentation UWF will request is dependent on what conflicting information is present on the FAFSA. If your FAFSA has conflicting information, you will be notified and tasks will be added to your financial aid portal. In most instances, UWF will attempt to clarify the situation first and then advise on acceptable documentation based on the specifics of the conflicting information. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of what could be considered conflicting information. 
  
Conflicting Information for 2024-2025: 
  1. Various instances, but not all, in which tax information was manually entered, but  was also retrieved on the same FAFSA.
  2. Non-filers with FTI.
  3. Various instances of reported taxable Grants and Scholarships.
Not Considered Conflicting Information for 2024-2025:
  1. Data for education tax credits transferred via the FUTURE Act-Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX) prior to March 30, 2024.
  2. Discrepancies with amended and updated tax return data transferred via the FA-DDX. 
  3. Issues resulting from discrepant instructions on the FAFSA form for individuals required to manually provide income and tax information. 
  4. Known issues resulting from calculation errors with the FAFSA Process System (FPS). 

The ED announced they will begin processing 2024-2025 paper FAFSA forms by the end of June. Once processed, students who submitted a paper FAFSA form and provided a valid email address will receive an email telling them that they can access their FAFSA Submission Summary on StudentAid.gov. Students who did not provide a valid email address will receive the results of their form’s processing via a paper FAFSA Submission Summary sent by postal mail within 7-10 days after processing. However, the ED strongly encourages students and contributors to complete the FAFSA online rather than completing a paper form. If an applicant first completes a paper FAFSA and subsequently completes the online application, the online FAFSA will supersede the paper application. 

As of May 17, 2024, The ED announced that all affected FAFSA applications have been reprocessed and sent to schools (see the April 1 update for more information). UWF waived the associated requirement for affected students on May 17th. Additionally, the ED is continuing to review "a small number of potential issues" and will provide resolutions as soon as "this week". There are still a small number of FAFSAs without a calculated SAI and no rejection code and missing verification flag indicators, which should also be resolved "this week". 

The ED announced that when a user starts a 2024-25 FAFSA correction and chooses to edit or change their answers in the form, they are unable to directly navigate to the “High School Status Completion” page.
 
  • If the user originally indicated a high school diploma and entered a high school name, after they complete the “Parent Killed in Line of Duty” page, they are skipped past the “Student High School Completion” page and instead taken to the “Confirm Your High School” page.

  • If the user did not indicate a high school diploma on their original application, after they complete the “Parent Killed in Line of Duty” page, they are skipped past the “Student High School Completion” page and instead taken to the “Student Financials” page.

Workaround: The user should select the “Previous” button from either the “Confirm Your High School” page or the “Student Financials” page to navigate to the “Student High School Completion Status” page and make any necessary changes.

As of May 10, 2024, the ED announced that schools will be unable to make FAFSA corrections until "late June". Schools will be able to submit corrections via the federal system by the end of June, but this will be on an individual student-level basis. Meaning, we cannot send files and must submit corrections through the federal system for each applicable student that requires corrections. Schools will be unable to send batch correction files for several weeks following the end of June. Students that are selected for verification or submit Professional Judgment Appeal may be impacted by this delay. 

As of April 30, 2024, the ED announced that "nearly all" impacted FAFSAs with various issues have been reprocessed. Please allow 7 to 10 business days for UWF to receive the corrected FAFSAs and to view any updates to your financial aid file. The ED also announced that once a FAFSA form is submitted, the ED is sending to institutions within 1 to 3 days of submission.

Additionally, the ED announced applicants and contributors without a Social Security Number (SSN) may now immediately access the online 2024-2025 FAFSA form after creating a StudentAid.gov account. Manual entry of 2022 tax information will be required. Users who request a StudentAid.gov account and cannot validate their identity using the knowledge-based questions (as generated by TransUnion) must still complete the manual process to validate their identity. Students without an SSN must verify their status through their school before they receive any federal funds.

Complete announcement:

UWF started receiving small batches of 2024-2025 FAFSAs from the Department of Education (ED) mid-March. The ED indicated they will continue to send small batches of FAFSAs to schools and will gradually increase the volume over a series of weeks. Once the ED is processing at full capacity, they have indicated it will take two weeks to process the backlog. As of today, UWF is pending systems updates and subsequent testing prior to processing FAFSA data. Tentatively, we will start processing the FAFSAs received from the ED by mid-April. We will start creating financial aid packages for incoming students by late April or into early May.

As of April 15, 2024, the ED announced that student-initiated corrections are now widely available to applicants and their contributors. Students who need to make corrections or who choose to make additions or changes to their FAFSA forms should return to  to complete those updates. Students should typically be able to review their updated FAFSA Submission Summary within 1 to 3 days of their submission of a correction.  For information on submitting corrections, please see .

As of April 9, 2024, the ED has amended their first half of April reprocessing timeline on tax discrepancies. The ED announced that they are now aiming to reprocess all tax affected FAFSA applications by May 1. The ED clarified that they expect to reprocess FAFSAs with other known issues by next week, so the extended May 1 timeline is specific to the tax discrepancies. If your FAFSA has been processed again, you will receive notification via email from the ED.

As of April 4, 2024, the ED announced all FAFSA applications impacted by tax discrepancies will be corrected and reprocessed when the functionality is available in the first half of April. If your FAFSA has been processed again in April, you will receive notification via email from the ED.

As of April 1, 2024, the ED announced that roughly 20% of all FAFSA applications are affected by one of the following issues:

  • Some data fields are pulled from a mix of updated and original returns leading to inconsistent tax data.
  • Educational tax credit data field is inaccurate.
  • For manually entered tax information, inaccurate reported values for education tax credits and income taxes paid, due to discrepancies in the instructions.

As of March 27, 2024, the ED announced FAFSA applicants that need to make updates and corrections to their FAFSA will be able to do so in the first half of April.

To prepare for the 2024-2025 FAFSA, you can:

Verify FSA ID(s)

An FSA ID is an account and password that gives you access to the Federal Student Aid’s online system and serves as your electronic signature. FSA IDs can take a few days to be created and verified, so having yours ready in advance will allow you to complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens.

 and email address, or  on the Federal Student Aid website, and assist contributors, such as your parent(s) or spouse, in creating an FSA ID. Be sure to  to receive up to date notifications and learn about upcoming changes to the FAFSA.

With the FSA ID, you can fill out the FAFSA when it’s available (by Dec. 31) and sign your , if applicable.

Estimate Aid

Before the FAFSA opens in December, you can use the  tool to find out how much federal student aid you may be eligible for in the 2024–2025 award year. 

This tool estimates the Student Aid Index (SAI) for 2024–25 award year, not the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for 2023–24 award year.

Complete the FAFSA

Complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens (by Dec. 31).

Instead of opening in October, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will open in December 2023. This change is temporary. After the 2024-2025 aid year, the FAFSA will be available in October as usual.

For a preview of the updated FAFSA, check out Federal Student Aid's October 2023 Financial Aid Bootcamps:

The U.S. Department of Education anticipates it will start sending FAFSA data to institutions at the end of January 2024.

The FAFSA will have fewer questions and fewer requirements. It will retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

The FAFSA is introducing new terminology, including:

Contributor

A contributor is anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse.

  • Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student's college costs.
  • Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA.
  • All contributors—student, student's spouse (if married) and student's parent(s) (if a dependent student)—must provide consent to have tax data transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. If consent is not provided by all parties, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional. It is now required. In addition, small businesses and family farms are now considered assets. 
  • If you are a , you will report your  and your own. If your parents are divorced or separated, the contributing parent(s) is the parent (and their spouse, if remarried) who provided the greater portion of your financial support during the 12 months immediately prior to filing the FAFSA. It is not automatically the parent you primarily lived with during the past 12 months.

Student Aid Index

The need analysis formula to determine financial aid, formerly known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will now be the . Unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number. The maximum EFC was zero.

The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA, but it will be excluded from the federal, state, and institutional financial aid calculation.

Students may qualify for a maximum Pell Grant based on family size, adjusted gross income (AGI), poverty guidelines and tax filing status. Students with a negative or 0 SAI are eligible for the maximum Pell Grant.

FAFSA Submission Summary

The Student Aid Report (SAR) will now be called the FAFSA Submission Summary. This is the summary submission document you receive after your FAFSA is processed by the Department of Education. You will receive an email when your FAFSA Submission Summary is available to view beginning in the first half of March.

The adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation will expand  (nonrepayable aid) eligibility to more students.

  • The FAFSA is still required annually for federal aid consideration and is available to U.S. citizens or .
  • Questions introduced in 2023-24 about the applicant's sex, race, and ethnicity have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and remain only for statistical purposes.
  •  to determine whether your parents must provide their information remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will still request tax information for the year that is two years prior to the award year. For the 2024-2025 FAFSA, contributors will report 2022 tax information. Families who had significant reduction in income due to extenuating circumstances can still request special circumstances review.
  •  remain the same.
  • Academic requirements for federal aid are still required to maintain eligibility.

Resources

We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.