This year, applying for federal student aid will look quite a bit different than it has in the past.
Due to new updates to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, applications for the 2024-25 award year will be available in December, rather than October. The changes will include a significantly shorter application form and updates to the formula that determines the amount of aid students receive.
“The FAFSA form has been daunting for many years,” said Anthony Jones, the executive director of scholarships and financial aid at the University of Utah. “For decades it has been a challenge. Nobody likes to complete a form, but this one has been particularly vexing, which is a primary reason Congress made updates to the form to streamline and simplify it. At the same time, they also changed how financial need is determined.”
While Jones and staff in the office are aware that updates to the FAFSA are coming, many of the details and the impacts are still emerging. Financial aid advisors expect these things to change:
- Who contributes information on the FAFSA
- How individual contributors will access the FAFSA form
- How the information for the form is supplied
- Income cutoffs for Pell eligibility
“Because there are so many changes to the FAFSA this year, I strongly encourage students and their families to talk to their financial aid office about their situation and for any help they may need in completing the FAFSA for 2024-25. Right now we have few answers but hope to have more details by the time the FAFSA opens in December,” Jones said.
In order to ensure students can get as much help as they need, Jones recommends students complete the FAFSA as soon as possible when it becomes available in December.
“Many continuing students wait to file their FAFSA until May or June,” Jones said. “Waiting that long this year could mean a surprise if your eligibility has changed based on the new FAFSA formula. It can also mean reduced time to request help for special circumstances from the U’s office of scholarships and financial aid.”