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Are you planning to enroll in college for the 2024–2025 academic year? Or perhaps, have a child enrolling in college? If so, you are going to want to know about the upcoming FAFSA changes that will take place in the new year. 

Why is the FAFSA so Important? 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application that must be completed by anyone who wishes to receive financial aid. Without completing this form, college students miss the opportunity for federal financial aid, grants, and even scholarship opportunities. Students will need to complete the FAFSA online for each academic year. If the college student is a dependent, they will need their legal guardians income information in order to complete the application. If they are not claimed as a dependent, they will not need their legal guardian to fill out the FAFSA.

What Changes to the FAFSA are Coming?

In 2024, the FAFSA will receive its biggest update in 40 years. The main takeaway from the updates is that the form will have fewer questions and a new process on how federal aid packages are calculated. 

Tax Info Will Come Directly from the IRS 

The 2024–2025 FAFSA is expected to roll out in December of 2023. With this new application, tax information will come directly from the IRS. In the past, this option was always optional, however that is no longer the case. You must consent to the IRS transfer when filling out the 2024–2025 FAFSA. 

Timing Delay

With this new application, expect the timeline to be delayed. In the past, the FAFSA opened up October 1 for the upcoming academic year. With the new overhaul of the application, this shifts the application window. However, you should still complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Why? The earlier applicants complete the application, the sooner they receive financial aid offer letters. And, with some aid being first come, first served, this means get it while you can! 

Parents are “Contributors”

Additionally, parents are now considered “contributors” with the new application. This new term describes anyone that must provide their financial information on the form. So what does this exactly mean? It means step-parents or other types of guardians may be considered a contributor. 

Each contributor will create a Federal Student Aid ID to access the FAFSA. With this update, there could be a 24-hour wait when requesting your FSA ID, so make sure to apply as soon as possible.

Parents Fill Out FAFSA Separately Now 

In the past, students and parents would have to complete the FAFSA together. Now, parents and students will submit their portions of the FAFSA separately with their unique FSA IDs. However, it is important that parents and students fill their portions out at a similar time. If one does not submit their portion within 45 days of each other, the saved form will expire, leading applicants to start completely over. 

According to Federal Student Aid, all of these changes to the FAFSA will actually make it easier for college students to get financial aid. With this new document rolling out fairly soon, why not complete it as soon as possible to get access to the funds that will be available? For more information and for the launch of the new form, make sure you’re following along on the Federal Student Aid’s website.
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