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Mother and daughter laptop preparing to complete the FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) is changing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), affecting all students and families who complete the application for the 2024-25 academic year. Read on for the specifics of what this means for you.

When will the 2024-25 FAFSA open?

The FAFSA will open in December 2023, but FSA has not specified an exact date.

What’s changing with the FAFSA?

Let’s cover the substantive changes. First, your FSA ID will be more important than ever. Both students and parents must create an FSA ID using full legal names, birthdates, and Social Security Numbers. The Social Security Administration must verify the FSA IDs before tax information can be accessed for the FAFSA, so allow at least three days

Both parents and stepparents must have an FSA ID so their tax information can be accessed accurately. Parents who don’t have a Social Security Number must also create an FSA ID. More direction on that will for forthcoming from FSA.

Second, the parent you include on the FAFSA could change. For dependent students with separated/divorced parents, the parent who provided the most financial support in the last 12 months must be included. If the support were equal, you would use the parent(s) with the highest income/assets. This aligns with the previous requirement of including the custodial parent for many students.

Third, and perhaps most notably, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will become SAI (Student Aid Index). The most significant implications of this change are that the net worth of small businesses and farm assets will now be considered in the SAI calculation. Parents will no longer report child support paid, but child support received will be considered. Also, the number of students a family has enrolled in college will no longer factor into the SAI calculation. What does this mean for you? Unfortunately, your financial aid eligibility could decrease.

Where do I go to learn more about FAFSA changes and get help?

The best way to stay informed of the latest developments with the FAFSA is to sign up for EducationQuest’s FREE Countdown2College newsletter (located at the bottom of our home page) and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Our college planning experts are also ready to provide personal assistance. Contact our offices in Lincoln, Omaha, Kearney, or Scottsbluff with questions.

By Regan Anson