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Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released new details on the redesigned and streamlined Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. The new FAFSA will make it easier than ever for students to get financial aid for college and help 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds receive Pell Grants. In total, it will allow 1.5 million more students access to the maximum Pell Grant award, bringing the total number of students eligible for the maximum Pell Grant to over 5.2 million.

The changes to the FAFSA form represent the most ambitious and significant redesign of the processes to apply for federal student aid and the formulas used to determine aid eligibility since the Common Financial Aid Form—the FAFSA form’s predecessor—was introduced in the Reagan era. They were enacted by bipartisan majorities in Congress through the FUTURE Act and FAFSA Simplification Act. The improved FAFSA form will be available for students and parents by Dec. 31, 2023. Students who complete the form will receive a confirmation and see their estimated student aid eligibility. More information on the implementation of the new FAFSA is provided below.

A Better FAFSA Form

The new FAFSA form will significantly improve, streamline, and redesign how students and their families use the form. For the first time, applicants will be able to securely transfer their federal tax information necessary for the eligibility calculation, directly from the IRS, removing the burdensome and confusing step of connecting to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for almost 9 million applicants using the tool each year. The changes will greatly simplify the process of submitting tax information for as many as 4 million additional students and families, many of whom are from low-income backgrounds.

The FAFSA redesign goes well beyond just a new form. Starting with the 2024–25 award year, the better FAFSA form reflects updates to student aid calculations, that extend Federal Pell Grants to more students. Pell Grant eligibility will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level. These changes will help significantly expand access to federal student aid.

Approximately 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds will receive Pell Grants, driven primarily by the changes to these eligibility rules. Additionally, Pell recipients will receive more aid and nearly 1.5 million more students will receive the maximum Pell Grant. Today, the Department released state-by-state estimates of how many more students will be eligible for Pell Grants and the maximum Pell award under the new, better FAFSA.

Transition to the Better FAFSA

The Department has been working closely with all of our partners to prepare for the many changes to the better FAFSA experience. To ensure a smooth experience for students and families, the Department is issuing guidance, hosting webinars, and offering training support in the coming months.

Students and families will be able to complete and submit FAFSA forms online by Dec. 31. We expect applications to peak in late January and February 2024. The new FAFSA will allow students and families to use federal tax data transferred directly and securely from the Internal Revenue Service. Once the application is complete, students will receive a confirmation email including their estimated Student Aid Index and Pell Grant eligibility. Students and families will also be able to complete paper forms by downloading a PDF form and mailing it to the Department.

Schools will begin receiving aid eligibility information, including Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs), by the end of January 2024, with information on paper forms to follow. Additionally, students will also be able to make corrections and updates at this time. Institutions will be able to make corrections in the weeks following. Direct connections to certain state financial aid applications and the ability for unpaid preparers to complete a FAFSA form on behalf of students will return with the 2025–26 FAFSA.

The new FAFSA is not only a major transition for the Department; it will also bring many changes for students, families, schools, and software vendors. In March 2023, we published the Better FAFSA Better Future Roadmap (FAFSA Roadmap), an implementation timeline of resources, guidance, and training materials for students and parents, schools and institutions, and other stakeholders about the redesigned 2024–25 FAFSA form. The Department has updated the FAFSA Roadmap with additional resources for our stakeholders, including students and families. We remain committed to continuing our support with regular outreach, including webinars, guidance, tool tips, and communications directly to our stakeholders.

FSA will provide regular status updates in a new 2024-25 FAFSA Updates feature on the FAFSA Simplification Information Topics page on the Knowledge Center.

Questions about the information outlined in this announcement can be submitted to the Department using the Contact Customer Support form in FSA's Partner Connect Help Center. To submit a question, please enter your name, email address, topic, and question. When submitting a question related to this announcement, please select the topic “2024-25 FAFSA.”

POSTED DATE:  November 15, 2023
AUTHOR: Federal Student Aid
SUBJECT: Update on the Simplified, Streamlined, Redesigned 2024-25 FAFSA