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Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification

The FAFSA for the Fall 2024 – Spring 2025 Academic Year Is Changing

Launch of the 2024-2025 FAFSA Form

an advisor helps a student on a laptop

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is an application for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study funds, and loans.

Due to the passing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act on December 27, 2020, as a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the FAFSA is changing for the 2024-2025 aid year.

What Does That Mean for My Federal Aid?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the improved FAFSA form will be available for students to complete by December 31, 2023. While the actual go-live date is not specified, this means students should not expect to be able to complete a FAFSA until that date.

The federal government estimates that they will need approximately one month of processing time before your completed FAFSA will be sent to EKU. This means that students are unlikely to have a complete financial aid package offered to them (if eligible) before February 2024.

What Changes Can I Expect?

A shorter, more streamlined FAFSA

The FAFSA will feature fewer questions and requirements, making it easier for students and contributors to complete. It will also retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS to the US Department of Education instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This will require all users to provide consent to allow Federal Tax Information to link to the FAFSA application to calculate aid eligibility as well as re-disclose that information to certain eligible entities, such as higher education institutions.

New Terminology

The FAFSA is introducing the new term “contributor”, which refers to 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. Every contributor will need an FSA ID to access, consent, and complete their section of the online form. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student’s college costs.

Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is now the Student Aid Index (SAI)

The new need analysis formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, allows a minimum SAI of -1,500, and implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants. This change is meant to expand access to Pell Grants, as the previous EFC only went as low as zero. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 610,000 new students from low-income backgrounds will be eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants due to updates to student aid calculations.

What Is Not Changing?

  • The FAFSA is still required annually for federal aid consideration
  • It is still available to U.S. Citizen’s or Eligible Non-Citizens
  • Federal Education Loan requirements are the same
  • Dependency status questions remain the same

What Can I Do Now?

Keep Your FSA ID Handy

This new FAFSA will require the same username and password you’ve used for previous applications. If you have never created an FSA ID, you can make one now at If you have a contributor that does not have a FSA ID, now is a great time for them to complete this.

Check Your Profile

Is your current email address listed? You’ll receive updates about the FAFSA through email. You can also follow Federal Student Aid on X (formerly Twitter)FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Mark Your Calendars for Early January

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) advises that FAFSA applicants for 2024-2025 should wait until January 2024 to submit the FAFSA. You can receive more guidance and news from KHEAA by tuning into their Facebook page and Instagram page.

Watch the 24-25 FAFSA FAQs Playlist Made by Federal Student Aid

Below is a playlist from Federal Student Aid that contains 5 short videos explaining the changes to the FAFSA in detail.