Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year!
The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, 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.
2024-2025 FAFSA Available in December 2023
Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning Oct. 1 every year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until sometime in December 2023. Updates on an exact date will be posted on this webpage and JJC's financial aid webpage when announced.
What’s changing with the FAFSA?
There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).
Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:
The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly.
- The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46.
- Since FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students won’t even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.
Students may list up to 20 colleges.
- Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.
The FAFSA will be available in more languages.
- Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents
Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.
- Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.
All "contributors" must provide financial information.
- A contributor - a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA - refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form (such as a parent/step-parent or spouse). A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
- Contributors will receive an email informing them that they’ve been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.
- Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.
- Each "contributor" on the FAFSA (student/spouse/parent(s)/step-parent) will need their own FSA ID.
- Users without a Social Security Number can now create an FSA ID (more information to come)
- Create the FSA IDs as soon as possible (if they don’t already have one) at https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch. FSA ID creation and FAFSA submission cannot be completed on the same day.
The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
- A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500. (A negative SAI will be treated as 0 for awarding purposes).
The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI.
- Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, JJC students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.
Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant.
- Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350% or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.
The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.
- For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.
Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.
- When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place or 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.
What isn’t changing?
While the FAFSA is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that will not change.
- The general types of aid available to JJC students and federal student loan limits will not change.
- The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
- Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA will remain the same.
- The FAFSA will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you’ll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-25 application. Families with significant reductions in income can consider submitting an appeal.
- The questions regarding an applicant’s gender, race, and ethnicity will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, JJC won’t even receive this data from the FAFSA.
When should I submit the 2024-25 FAFSA?
Students who plan to take classes at JJC in the Fall of 2024 should complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December.
The Financial Aid webpage and Financial Aid portal will be updated as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.
This information was last updated Sept. 7, 2023.