Important 2024–2025 FAFSA Updates

For the 2024–2025 aid year, the FAFSA process has gone through significant changes. Read more about the changes below.

The FAFSA Is Changing...Here's What You Need To Know:

  • The Department of Education has begun a soft launch of the 2024–2025 FAFSA and the form is now available at the Federal Student Aid website. Throughout this soft launch, this overhauled application may become temporarily unavailable as the Department of Education continues to perform required site maintenance. Drexel recommends monitoring the Federal Student Aid website and completing the FAFSA when you see it is available.
  • We recommend completing the FAFSA as soon as possible. In particular, any admitted Early Action or Early Decision student who received estimated federal financial aid in their package based on their CSS Profile should file a 24–25 FAFSA as soon as it becomes available.
  • Drexel will not begin receiving FAFSA data until February 2024. Submitted FAFSA forms won’t be reflected in student’s portals until this time. As a reminder, Drexel's FAFSA school code is 003256.
  • The delay in the opening of the FAFSA is a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act passed by Congress in 2020, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which triggered a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid in the U.S.
  • The changes include updates to the FAFSA form itself, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.
  • Full implementation of the major changes will occur during the 2024–2025 award year (starting fall 2024).
  • Revised methodology will be introduced to calculate and determine applicant eligibility with a new need-analysis formula.
  • Resources for completing the FAFSA form will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken in the United States.

Some Changes to the FAFSA Include:

  • The FAFSA will be more user-friendly with a streamlined format, the maximum number of questions reduced from 108 to 46, and the application will maximize the use of previously collected data.
  • Students may also now list up to 20 colleges instead of the previous 10.
  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a terminology update.
  • Moving forward, the Cost of Attendance (COA) will be the starting point for calculating the SAI. COA includes direct costs (charges for which the University bills you directly) and estimated indirect costs (living expenses) to fund educational expenses for a year.
  • Foster, homeless, and unaccompanied youth, as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information, will be able to complete the form with a provisional independent student determination and receive a calculated SAI.
  • Anyone asked to provide information on the aid application, such as the student, spouse, student’s parent(s), and/or stepparents(s), is now called a “contributor” in the application.
  • All contributors must give their consent to provide their Federal Tax Information (FTI) in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section of the FAFSA for federal student aid eligibility. A student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. And those contributors will receive an email informing them that they've been identified as such. If any contributor to the FAFSA form does not provide consent, submission of the form will still be allowed; however, a Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated.
  • Applicants will be required to provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS using the IRS Direct Data Exchange. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually; but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application.
  • For dependent students, the Custodial Parent on the student's FAFSA will be the parent(s) who provided them with more financial support, instead of the parent(s) with whom they lived with more during the past 12 months.
  • There will be a two-step verification process and all FAFSA contributors must have an FSA ID to log into the online form. There will be a new process to get an FSA ID for parents and spouses without a Social Security number.
  • Applicants will be asked to report their sex, race, and ethnicity on the FAFSA form, but students will be offered a choice of “Prefer Not to Answer.” Schools and state agencies won't see the responses to these questions.

FAFSA Updates for Calculating Federal Aid Eligibility:

  • The formula for calculating the Student Aid Index (SAI) is: COA - SAI = financial need.
  • 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 based on federal poverty levels and family size.
  • Child support received will be included in assets and not as untaxed income.
  • Family farms and small businesses must be considered in the need-analysis calculation. When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

View the FAFSA Simplification Act for more information.

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