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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

FAFSA Simplification

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is Changing!

Simplifying the financial aid application process: the FAFSA Simplification Act is an initiative by the United States Department of Education to make applying for federal student aid easier for students.  As a result, the 2024-2025 FAFSA was opened in December 2023.

This process is the first major redesign of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process in over 40 years. It represents a significant overhaul of federal student aid, including the FAFSA form, need analysis, storage of federal student aid application data, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in the Title IV programs.

The process for the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) will include some of the changes from the new FAFSA, both of which will be implemented for the 2024–2025 award year. All students must complete either the FAFSA or CADAA to be considered for federal student aid.

The Fresno State Financial Aid & Scholarships Office is dedicated to keeping students, families, supporters and our campus community updated.  We will continue to update this webpage as we receive more information from the Department of Education and post on our social media pages (Facebook, X, and Instagram @FSfinancialaid).

 

What is the latest?

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched the 2024-2025 FAFSA on December 31, 2023 with a soft launch. Most students and their contributors were able to start working on their 2024-2025 FAFSA at this point. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Students and contributors cannot make corrections to the FAFSA once it has been submitted until sometime in February. 
  • Institutions will not receive FAFSAs until sometime in March (updated January 30, 2024).

With the FAFSA Simplification comes a need for a massive overhaul to the system that we use to process students for financial aid. We are currently working on implementing the necessary updates to our systems so that we are ready to begin processing shortly after we are able to receive FAFSA information from ED. At this time, we are hopeful that students will start to see Financial Aid To Do items posted to their account beginning in mid-to-late-April, and anticipating award letters being sent in May. We will be communicating important information and updates to students as soon as we have them.

Federal Student Aid Updates regarding the 2024-2025 FAFSA:

Common Questions/Issues that we are seeing:

  • Students cannot make corrections to their FAFSA. The U.S. Department of Education has said that students can make corrections beginning in mid-March, once they have been processed.
  • Contributors without social security numbers are unable to create a FSA ID so students cannot invite their contributor(s) to complete their section of the FAFSA. The U.S. Department of Education is working on this and hopes to have a solution soon. 
  • When selecting your contributor to invite, you will get an error if you do not indicate their information exactly as it is on their FSA ID. Make sure the information you are entering is exactly as it appears on their FSA ID. We have seen this issue pop up a lot when contributors have multiple last names and the student only lists one, or vice versa.
  • Students invite their contributor(s) to complete their section, but the contributor(s) never get an email. We have seen that they sometimes get an email a few days later, but we have also seen that the contributor can still log in and complete their section without the email, so you may want to reach out to your contributor to have them try logging in anyways, if they didn't get an email.
  • Students invite their contributor(s) to complete their section, but the contributor(s) log in and there is no action needed. In working with students, we have reached out to the U.S. Department of Education for assistance and they have suggested trying different browsers.

Need help with your FAFSA/CADAA?

We have workshops where you can get help with your financial aid application! We are hosting workshops both virtually and in-person. For the latest information, follow us on our social media pages (Facebook, X, and Instagram @FSfinancialaid).

VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS: Please start working on your financial aid application and jump into the Zoom when you have a question. You will be in a waiting room at first and then we will move you into a breakout room with a financial aid staff member for support.

  • Dates and Times for Virtual Workshops:
    • January 16 • 9a.m.-12p.m.
    • January 26 • 2p.m.- 4p.m.
    • January 30 • 1p.m.- 4p.m.
    • February 6 • 9a.m.-12p.m.
    • February 22 • 1p.m.- 4p.m.
    • February 23 • 9a.m.-12p.m.
    • March 6 • 9a.m.- 12p.m.
    • April 2 • 1p.m.- 4p.m.
  • Zoom Information:

IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS: We will be hosting these workshops in the Joyal Administration Building in Room 203 on the second floor. There will be tablets set up for student use, but you are welcome to bring your own laptop. Financial aid staff will be there to support you as you need.

  • Dates and Times for In-Person Workshops: 
    • February 8 • 11a.m.- 2:30p.m.
    • March 21 • 9a.m.-12p.m.
  • Location: Joyal Administration Building in Room 203

 

2024-2025 Financial Aid Applications

NOTE: If you are not sure which application to complete between the FAFSA and the CADAA, do not complete both applications. Start with the CADAA. There are preliminary questions in the CADAA that will let you know which application is right for you. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's):

FAFSA Simplification Act: On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions that amend the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act and includes the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and expands access to federal student aid.”

The U.S. Department of Education has created the Federal Student Aid Estimator, which will allow you to estimate the federal aid that you could be eligible for.

Please keep in mind that this is just an estimate and only includes federal aid. If you are a California resident and you complete your 2024-2025 financial aid application by the April 2, 2024 deadline, you could be eligible for California State aid opportunities as well. For more information on the California State aid opportunities, visit the California Student Aid Commission here.

To use the Federal Student Aid Estimator, click here.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA process is going to look a bit different than it was in the past. Don’t worry, we’re here to help keep you informed!

The application will not be available until December. To accommodate this later availability, we are extending our priority filing date to April 2, 2024. Please stay tuned for more details as they are released.

In 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

  • Full implementation of major provisions will occur during the 2024–2025 award year (starting Fall 2024).
  • The 2024–2025 FAFSA will be available in December 2023. The exact date has not yet been released by the Department of Education.
  • Methodology will be introduced to calculate and determine applicant eligibility with a new need-analysis formula.
  • Resources for completing the FAFSA form will be expanded to the 11 most common languages spoken in the United States.

Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid. The benefits of FAFSA simplification include:

  • A more streamlined application process
  • Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
  • Expanded eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.
  • Reduced barriers for certain student populations
  • A better user experience for the FAFSA form
  • Enhanced data sharing with IRS to simplify the applicant’s experience

  • 2024-2025 FAFSA completion date: Normally the FAFSA becomes available October 1st each year, but the 2024-2025 FAFSA will be available by the end of December 2023.  As a result, we have extended our priority filing deadline to April 2, 2024.
  • The FSA ID is more important than ever! To start the FAFSA, an FSA ID is required. Students and parents must have an FSA ID to fill out the form, including parents without a Social Security number.
  • The term “EFC” (expected family contribution) is changing: 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 and scholarships.
  • Streamlined application: Questions are being removed, added, and rearranged.  You’ll notice fewer overall questions when completing the 2024-2025 FAFSA and an easier way to transfer tax information directly from the IRS.
  • The parent included on the FAFSA could change: For dependent students with separated or divorced parents, the parent providing the most financial support must be included on the new FAFSA. For many students, this will align with the previous requirement of including the custodial parent – the parent living with the student.
  • New terminology: You’ll notice a few new terms like contributor (anyone who is asked to provide information on the FAFSA, a parent or student spouse for example) and consent (each contributor will need to consent to their information being included on the FAFSA)

  • The number of questions will be reduced and the application will maximize the use of previously collected data.
  • Students will be able to list up to 20 schools on their FAFSA via the online application.
  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Anyone asked to provide information on the aid application—student, spouse, student’s parent(s) and/or stepparents(s)—is called a contributor to the application.
  • There will be two-step verification and all FAFSA contributors must have an FSA ID to log into the online form.
    • There will be a new process to get an FSA ID for parents and spouses without a Social Security number.
  • Each contributor (student, student spouse, parent(s), and/or stepparent) will have to provide their consent to provide their Federal Tax Information (FTI) in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section of the FAFSA.
  • A Direct Data Exchange with the IRS will replace what is currently known as the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).
  • If any contributor does not provide their consent the Student Aid Index (SAI) will not be calculated, and we will not be able to determine the student’s eligibility for financial aid.
  • For students whose parents are divorced or separated, the Custodial Parent on your FAFSA will be the parent who provides you with the most financial support and will no longer be the parent with whom you lived with the most over the past 12 months.
  • Applicants will be asked to report their sex, race, and ethnicity on the FAFSA itself, but students will be offered a choice of “Prefer Not to Answer.” Schools and state agencies won’t see responses to these questions on the FAFSA.
  • Foster, homeless, and unaccompanied youth—as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information—will be able to complete the form with a provisional independent student determination and receive a calculated SAI. 

Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and they will experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid. With the change to SAI, some students may see a decrease in financial aid eligibility. The SAI formula does not account for siblings in college and requires the net worth of all businesses and farms to be reported as assets.

  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • The Cost of Attendance (COA) will be the starting point for calculating the SAI. COA includes direct costs (charges for which the university bills you directly) and estimated indirect costs (living expenses) to fund educational expenses for a year.
  • The formula for calculating the Student Aid Index (SAI) is: COA – SAI = financial need.
  • The new need-analysis formula:
    • removes the number of family members in college from the calculation,
    • allows a minimum SAI of -$1,500,
    • implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants based on federal poverty levels and family size.
  • Child support received will be included in assets and not as untaxed income.
  • Families who own a small business/farm that also serves as primary residence will now have assets of that business/farm considered in their need-analysis calculation.
  • The Pell Grant will no longer be adjusted based on enrollment status (full-time, half-time, etc.). Instead a student's Pell Grant and disbursement amount will be calculated using the student's Enrollment Intensity - which is a percentage value based on the number of credits a student is enrolled for during the term.