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FAFSA gets a facelift

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

New changes to the FAFSA form will be implemented for the upcoming award year.

By Maxine Ibrahim

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is getting a major makeover and will be available in December instead of October for the 2024-2025 award year. Changes to the form include reducing the number of questions required to answer and updating the formula used to calculate aid to expand eligibility for key student populations.

The new formula makes modifications to the definition of family that will determine financial aid by student/parent tax returns and calculates aid using tax data directly from the IRS. FAFSA will also expand eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant according to family size and federal poverty level.

With the new FAFSA, students will have fewer questions to answer, streamlining the application process by reducing the original 108 questions to approximately 36. However, FAFSA’s Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which removes any sibling affiliation or sibling discount. Instead, Federal Pell Grants are now determined by separate eligibility criteria.

Students and families are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the updated policy in accordance with their own circumstances. Until then, applicants can make Federal Student Aid ID usernames and passwords before the December opening date. Due to the changes and later-than-usual release of the form California has pushed their FAFSA application deadline to April 2024.


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