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2024–2025 Federal Student Aid Changes

With the passage of the FAFSA Simplification Act, the U.S. Department of Education is making significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and process for the upcoming 2024–2025 aid year. This includes changes to how some data elements are obtained, the need analysis that determines aid eligibility, and terminology. The UMGC Office of Financial Aid will update this page as additional information is made available so that we can continue to educate students and our university community on the new process.

Why is the FAFSA Changing?

The FAFSA Simplification Act was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed on December 27, 2020. The law included a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. The goals of the FAFSA Simplification Act are to make it easier for students to complete and submit the FAFSA form and expand access to federal student aid.

When Will the FAFSA Form be Available for the 2024-2025 Aid Year?

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available to complete on by December 31, 2023. The UMGC Office of Financial Aid will be here to help keep you informed with the latest information.

How Can I Prepare for the FAFSA Changes?

This year for the first time, contributors (you, your spouse, or parent(s)) who need to input data on the FAFSA must create an FSA ID. This must be done before you can complete the FAFSA when it becomes available in December. We encourage you and all contributors to create an FSA ID as soon as possible!

What is Changing in the FAFSA?

  • Student Aid Index (SAI): With the 2024–2025 FAFSA, the term "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC) will be replaced with the "Student Aid Index" (SAI). This is a new need analysis formula that we will use when awarding need-based grants (such as the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) and scholarships.
  • Streamlined application: You’ll notice fewer questions when completing the 2024–2025 FAFSA and there will be an easier way to transfer your income tax information directly from the IRS. You'll just need to give your consent for the transfer of data.
  • Contributor and consent: You’ll notice a few new terms like contributor (anyone who is asked to provide information on the FAFSA, a student spouse or parent, for example) and consent (each contributor will need to consent to their information being included on the FAFSA).
  • FSA ID: Students, spouses, and parents (if a dependent student) are required to register for an FSA ID. This should be done before you intend to file the FAFSA.
  • Tax/income data: Beginning with the 2024–2025 FAFSA, all contributors listing tax information on the FAFSA must provide consent to use the Direct Data Exchange (DDX), which will transfer tax information directly from the IRS. The DDX eases the process and  reduces the number of questions you need to answer. If all contributors do not provide consent, your eligibility for federal student aid will not be calculated. 
  • Housing status: This year’s FAFSA will not feature a question about a student’s housing status (i.e., living with or away from parents). This is a critical piece of data for calculating your aid eligibility, so we are taking steps to ensure we confirm this information accurately. For continuing students, we plan to use your current year housing status. There will be a way to submit updates if your housing status has changed from the 2023–2024 aid year. New students will have an assumed housing status based on their dependency status or military residency. There will be a way for you to update your housing status, if needed.

What is Remaining the Same?

  • The FAFSA will remain required for federal aid consideration and will continue to be used for institutional and state aid determination.
  • The FAFSA remains an annual application that continuing students will need to complete each year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parents complete the FAFSA with you remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will request tax information from the prior-prior year.

Stay Tuned for More Updates

Check back often for updates. This is the biggest update to the FAFSA in 40 years! We will update information here as it becomes available.