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7 Things to Know About the New FAFSA

two students walk and talk about the new FAFSA

You might have heard that exciting updates are coming to the federal financial aid process this year. These changes make completing the FAFSA faster and easier than ever before. Whether you’re starting a new FAFSA application (filing for the first time) or renewing a previous application (applying for ongoing aid), you’ll find accessing aid much simpler. 

In this article, we'll walk you through several essential things you need to know about the updated form. With this insight, you can jump into the application with ease and confidence. 

If you are struggling with the delays associated with the new FAFSA, check out this article explaining how to get financial aid and make the right decisions for your future. 

The New FAFSA: What’s Changing?

Here are 7 of the most impactful changes you'll see this year. 

  1. The FAFSA will be delayed this year. For the 2024-25 year only, the FAFSA won’t be available until December 2023. (It’s usually available in October.) The specific release date will be announced by the Department of Education soon. (Expert tip: complete the FAFSA as soon as you can!)
  2. You can get your FSA ID now. To complete the FAFSA, you and at least one of your guardians will need to create an account on the website.  Do this right away so you’re ready when the FAFSA is released!
  3. The FAFSA will be much shorter. The simplified form is only about 30 questions – down from about 100! Better yet, the answers to several questions will be populated automatically using your and your parents’ federal tax data.
  4. More students will be eligible for Pell Grants. Eligibility will primarily be based on family income and household size, and it will be easier to know if you qualify (and, in some cases, for how much) upfront. 
  5. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is now the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI will be calculated differently than the EFC was, but it serves the same purpose: determining your financial need by subtracting it from the college’s Cost of Attendance.
  6. You very likely don’t need your tax forms to file the FAFSA. For most students, a new streamlined process will import your federal tax info directly from the IRS.
  7. You can estimate your federal financial aid award and your SAI. The English and Spanish versions of the new FAFSA have a tool that gives you an early estimate of your SAI and federal financial aid. 

Staying Updated on the New FAFSA

The federal government is sharing additional information on the new FAFSA weekly. So, it makes sense to check out for the latest updates as you get ready to start your application. We’ll also continue sharing news and advice with you, so create an Appily account and follow us on social media. 

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