Skip to content
Parent and daughter reviewing information on a laptop computer

Federal Student Aid (FSA) is changing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 academic year. The FAFSA is a student’s ticket to obtaining grants, work-study, low-interest student loans, and some scholarships. If you’re wondering if these changes will affect you and your family, the answer is: absolutely! The changes will impact everyone, including both current and future college students.

Here are the five most important things to know as of now.

  • The FAFSA won’t open until December 2023.
  • Both students and parents must create a Student Aid Account to get an FSA ID before completing the form. Allow at least three days.
  • If parents are divorced or separated, the parent who provided the most financial support in the last calendar year will now complete the FAFSA.
  • The number of students a family has enrolled in college will no longer factor into the FAFSA calculation.
  • The net worth of family farms and small businesses will now be required as part of the application.

Read on to learn more about each of these changes.

When will the FAFSA Open?

In the past, the FAFSA opened annually on October 1. This year that won’t be the case. FSA anticipates the application opening sometime in December 2023 – no specific date yet. Because the FAFSA is required for some grant and scholarship programs, keeping track of deadlines established by colleges and other grant and scholarship providers will be important.

Who needs an FSA ID?

Both students and parents must create a Student Aid Account or FSA ID. If parents are married and file their taxes ‘married filing jointly,’ then only one parent needs an FSA ID. If parents are married and file their taxes ‘married filing separately,’ they will both need an FSA ID.

The Social Security Administration will now require verification of FSA IDs before tax information can be accessed, so applicants will need to allow at least three days for that process to occur. Students and parents must log in to the FAFSA separately to complete their respective sections.

Who provided the most financial support?

The parent who completes the FAFSA is changing for divorced or separated parents. Previously, the parent a student lived with the most in the last calendar year was included in the FAFSA. Starting with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the parent who provided the most financial support must complete the application.

Will changes to aid calculations impact my family?

FSA will no longer divide the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which will soon be called the Student Aid Index (SAI), by the number of students a family has in college. What does that mean? Well, if your EFC was $20,000 last year, the amount was divided by the number of students enrolled in college – meaning if you have two children attending college, your EFC was $10,000 per student. In the future, your SAI will be $20,000 per student.

Will my family’s net worth affect my aid eligibility?

The answer is yes if your family has a farm or small business. Previously, the net worth of a family farm or a small business with fewer than 100 employees was not required. Moving forward, the net worth of each will be part of the FAFSA calculation.

The items discussed in this blog could change before the new FAFSA is available to students in December. The best way to keep up with the latest news is to sign up for our free Countdown2College monthly newsletter and like/follow us on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

EducationQuest is always here to help students and parents navigate the college planning and financial aid process with our free services. Contact any of our offices with questions or to make an appointment.

By EducationQuest