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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

FAFSA updated for 2024-2025

Sean Reed
Financial aid coordinator Sadie Barge sits behind a desk Tuesday in the lobby of NIU’s Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. The office offers support for the newly-simplified FAFSA application that opened with the new year. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the 2024-2025 is expected to be different from previous years with changes to length, what is taken into consideration and family assists. 

FAFSA is an application for students to fill out and receive financial aid and support from the federal government for college.

In 20220, the FAFSA Simplification Act passed through Congress and then amended in 2022 which had caused the changes that are taking place.

FAFSA traditionally opens each Oct. 1, but the 2024-2025 FAFSA soft launched Dec. 31.

“During the soft launch, the FAFSA form will be available for short periods of time while we monitor site performance and form functionality,” according to the Federal Student Aid Website

There is no date released for when the soft launch period will end.

“Some applicants could answer as few as 18 questions, which could take less than 10 minutes,” according to the Federal Student Aid Website.. 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is planned to be quicker to fill out for multiple reasons, including the ability to skip certain requests that do not apply to the student.

“Any person contributing to or completing the FAFSA must now consent to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange, which will transfer data directly into the FAFSA,” according to NIU FAFSA Simplification

Another change to FAFSA is replacing the Expected Family Contribution with the Student Aid Index. 

“The new need analysis formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, allows a minimum SAI of -1500, and implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants,” according to the Federal Student Aid Help Center.

Although FAFSA is no longer taking into account how many children a family has in college, more students are eligible for Federal Pell Grants. 

FAFSA expects 610,000 more students to be eligible for Federal Pell Grants with their new calculations, according to the Federal Student Aid Website.

Other changes include: anyone who was to fill out or help fill out a FAFSA is now called a contributor including the student and their spouse or parents, it is available in more languages, and students can add up to 20 schools to their list instead of 10. 

The FAFSA form is open now on the Federal Student Aid website for any student planning to attend college in the 2024-2025 school year.

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