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Father and daughter, looking at a laptop as they what they need to know about the 2024-25 FAFSA.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is undergoing significant changes for the 2024-25 academic year, impacting high school seniors and their parents. Read on for a breakdown of the key updates and what they mean for you.

Opening Date for the 2024-25 FAFSA

The FAFSA for the 2024-25 academic year is set to open in December 2023. While the exact date has yet to be specified by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), it’s essential to be prepared to submit your application when it becomes available.

The Importance of Your FSA ID

One of the most significant changes involves the FSA ID, which will become even more crucial in the application process. Students, parents, and stepparents must create an FSA ID using their full legal names, birthdates, and Social Security Numbers (SSN). Even parents without SSNs must create an FSA ID. Keep an eye out for further guidance from FSA on this matter.

The Social Security Administration will verify these FSA IDs before tax information can be accessed for the FAFSA. Allow at least three days for the verification process.

Which Parent Is Included on the FAFSA

There’s a change in determining which parent should be included on the FAFSA for dependent students with separated or divorced parents. The parent who provided the most financial support in the last 12 months must be included. In cases where support was equal, you will use the parent(s) with the highest income and assets. This aligns with the previous requirement of including the custodial parent for many students.

The Transition from EFC to SAI

The most notable change is the shift from Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Student Aid Index (SAI). This change introduces several significant implications, including:

  • The SAI calculation will now consider small business and farm assets, potentially affecting your eligibility for financial aid.
  • Parents will no longer report child support paid, but child support received will be considered.
  • The number of students a family has enrolled in college will no longer factor into the SAI calculation.

These changes could result in adjustments to your financial aid eligibility, so knowing how they may affect your college funding is crucial.

Stay Informed and Get Assistance

To stay updated on the latest FAFSA developments, sign up for EducationQuest’s FREE Countdown2College newsletter. You can also follow EducationQuest on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to ensure you get all critical updates.

EducationQuest’s college planning experts are ready to help if you have specific questions or need personalized assistance. Contact our offices in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, or Scottsbluff for guidance on navigating these FAFSA changes and preparing for your college journey.

By Jeannine Phelan