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FAFSA implements seven new changes

Photo Credit: Google Open Source

Students who have tried to get ahead of the game and fill out their financial aid forms early discovered upcoming changes to the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Federal Student Aid released information about the changes to the form on Sept. 21 on YouTube. That video was the most information that Federal Student Aid released until they hosted a webinar on Oct. 25. 

Here’s a rundown of the changes. 

There is a temporary change from the 2024-25 FAFSA form only. It cannot be filled out until Dec. 1. In the past, students could fill out the FAFSA form as soon as Oct. 1. For this year only, students will have to wait until Dec. to fill out the form, but next year the application will open on Oct. 1 again. 

In addition, there are six permanent changes to the FAFSA form going forward that have been announced. 

For students that have a spouse or stepparent, they may also need to participate on their FAFSA form as a contributor. On the FAFSA form, a contributor is anyone who is required to provide federal tax information for it. Contributors are determined by dependency, tax filing and marital status. They are not expected to contribute to a student’s school costs, but they will be included in calculating how much aid a student is eligible for. 

Secondly, all federal tax information for students and contributors will be directly imported from the IRS. This was an option on the FAFSA form in the past, but there will no longer be an option to enter the information manually. 

Additionally, all students and contributors must provide consent and approval for the transfer of federal tax information from the IRS for the student to be eligible for federal student aid. Even if one of the contributors does not have a social security number, did not file taxes or filed taxes outside of the U.S., they must still provide consent and approval on the FAFSA. 

Also, each student and contributor must have their own Federal Student Aid account to access and fill out the FAFSA form. No social security number is required to create a student aid account, but aid will only be distributed to U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. 

The fifth change is that students can now monitor the status of their FAFSA more closely. They will be able to see if contributors have filled out their portion of the FAFSA form. 

The last change does not apply to college students themselves, unless they are transferring to another institution. The FAFSA form can now be submitted to up to 20 colleges, career schools or trade schools instead of 10.  

Be sure to periodically check on and their YouTube channel for any additional updates to the FAFSA form. 

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