The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Incoming Changes to FAFSA

New FAFSA Updates (& What It Entails)

 It is a safe bet to say that every college student – or the parents of every college student – are familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA. 

 Each year, senior high school students and college students alike must traverse their way through the tedious, painstaking, and monotonous FAFSA application in the hopes of being provided some form of financial aid from the United States government.

 However, the silver-lining of the entire process – as stated in the name – is that the FAFSA application is completely free with no hidden application payment. Moreover, whatever aid is provided from the government has no outstanding fee to the student beneficiary.  

 “The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, is a form every student must fill out in order to get federal financial aid for college. The U.S. Department of Education, which collects and processes your FAFSA, will use your individual and family financial information to determine how much you can put toward college costs, and therefore how much financial aid you qualify for,” Forbes Advisor Loans Analyst, Brianna McGurran explained. 

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 The hard-truth to the FAFSA process that many students and families must come to terms with each time they fill out or update the form is that despite completing and updating the form in its entirety each year, an individual is not guaranteed to gain any financial aid whatsoever. 

 Some individuals who complete the FAFSA form gain the beneficial opportunity to receive federal grants, loans, and other government-provided financial aid that make it attainable to afford and attend college. Furthermore, numerous state higher education agencies and colleges themselves use each student’s FAFSA report to distribute equitable financial aid benefits, such as scholarships as well. 

 To the advantage – and hindrance – of many college student families, the Federal Aid Department of the U.S. Department of Education has refurbished the FAFSA application for the upcoming 2024 – 2025 award year. 

 Many aspects of this rejuvenated questionnaire are beneficial to some, and detrimental to others. However, the Department of Education has claimed that the adjusted material within the new FAFSA is concurrent with the increased need of financial aid by students in current societal standards. 

 “For the 2024-25 award year, the FAFSA is getting a facelift that includes a redesign and fewer questions. Plus, formulas determining aid eligibility have been modified with the goal of expanding financial assistance for low-income families,” Forbes Advisor and personal finance contributor, Taylor Medine stated. “This recent FAFSA overhaul puts into practice laws enacted in the FAFSA Simplification Act, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022.”

 From an all-embracing standpoint, many sources have indicated that there are a handful of predominant FAFSA modifications to be aware of when filling out the application near the end of this year, the first of which being the time by which the form will be available to the public. 

 In contrast to past years where the FAFSA form has been available to the public for students and their guardians to begin filling out starting Oct. 1 before the financial aid award year, this time around, the financial aid application will not be available until sometime in December. 

 This date change not only means that the debut of the FAFSA application to the public will be delayed, but it also means that students and their families will have considerably less time to complete the form seeing that the deadlines for completed applications are not postponed as well. 

 While this date availability change is only temporary and the original Oct. 1 kickoff date will make a return in the years to come, it by no means indicates that individuals should ease off on the importance of completing the questionnaire. 

 “A December opening date means the FAFSA launch could coincide with school breaks and holidays, but do not put off completing it until the new year. Some needs-based aid may be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and submitting your FAFSA sooner than later could increase your chances of qualifying for funding while it is available,” Medine encouraged. 

 The second notable change to the FAFSA effort is the facet by which there is a new method by which financial aid ability will be monitored and calculated. 

 The Department of Education has made many stark changes that can fall into this category; the main couple of which being that the new Student Aid Index (SAI) has replaced the precedent expected family contribution (EFC) metric to calculate aid eligibility, and that there are increasingly less questions on the new form in comparison to the number that have been on the application in the past. 

 “The new FAFSA application requires that financial information be pulled directly from IRS data when possible, so there is less information to enter manually. The old FAFSA had over 100 questions, while the new one has less than 50,” Medine continued. 

 In addition to there being significantly less questions to fill out, there are also new, less-rigorous standards by which individuals can earn some arrangement of financial aid. 

 Applicants can now have a minimum Student Aid Index (SAI) of negative $1,500, meaning that after the consideration of income, assets, and other extraneous factors, it is possible to have a family contribution or student aid amount that is below the preceding minimum of zero. 

 Another aspect of financial aid calculation that has caught many families off-guard, is the idea that households that raise multiple children do not get compensation for having multiple students in college. This new stipulation results in families with multiple college students receiving less aid – or none whatsoever – for the 2024-25 school year. 

 In addition, another factor playing a monumental role in the upcoming FAFSA application is that students must disclose the income of the parent who provides the most financial support towards their college endeavors.  

 Rather than the previous method of reporting the income of the parent they live with for the majority of the academic school year, the new requisition document states that financially dependent students of separated or divorced parents must report the income of the guardian who provides the most financial support overall.

By the same token, in comparison to precedent years, the FAFSA form has deemed some income sources that were previously regarded as relevant, no longer pertinent to aid calculation. For example, individuals no longer must report untaxed income, such as money received from extended family members, housing and living allowances, and other welfare payments. 

 The third fundamental adjustment that has been made to FAFSA for this upcoming year is that students may now automatically qualify for the benefits of the maximum Pell Grant as considered by how the student’s household income and family size is correlated to poverty guidelines.

 The last important change being made to the FAFSA proposal as it relates to students and their guardians is the concept that everyone who is helping a student party complete their application requires their own FSA ID to complete the application. Parents should no longer help their children fill-out the questionnaire under the students login, but rather, they must create their own FAFSA ID, and login under their own credentials in relation to the student they are helping. 

 Generally speaking, there are countless differences to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that students and families must be aware of this year. To add, it should be mentioned that the exact launch date of the new FAFSA for the 2024-2025 school year has yet to be announced; the only aspect that has been established is that the release date will be sometime this December. Fortunately, individuals filling out the application can expect to spend less time overall completing the application due to the fewer, less extraneous questions. 

 If you need help this upcoming December completing your FAFSA (or have questions during the process), the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) is available in many forms, and their office can be reached by calling 1-800-433-3243. 

 For information regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), new FAFSA changes, and how to complete the application, please visit,, and changes-college-aid.html

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Campbell Burnett
Campbell Burnett, Content Editor

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