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College Students' Guide to Renewing the New FAFSA

February 8, 2024
By Brendan Williams

College Students' Guide to Renewing the New FAFSA
Attention current college students! Here’s what you need to know about the 2024-2025 FAFSA:
  • The FAFSA is open. Look up your college and state deadlines, and start early!
  • This year your parent(s) will need to do their section of the FAFSA.
  • The new FAFSA has had some glitches, and there’s a helpline to call if you have any issues.
  • If the financial aid offered for next year decreases, contact your college to find out why and if you have any options.
If you’re currently in college and planning to attend next year, you must submit the FAFSA to ensure you can get the financial aid you need. Before you begin the FAFSA this year, you should know the 2024-2025 FAFSA has undergone many changes to improve the experience for students and families. Here are the most significant changes you should know about before you start the form.

After delays, the FAFSA is now available to fill out.

However, it is experiencing technical issues due to the many changes to the form. You should check your college's deadline and get your FAFSA submitted before it. If you run into technical issues in the form, contact your college's financial aid office to explain your situation and try calling the federal student aid helpline (1-800-433-3243). Getting the FAFSA submitted early will help you avoid any last-minute issues. 

Your parent(s) will need to complete their section.

The FAFSA now requires each person on your FAFSA to complete their own section of the form. If you are a dependent, at least one parent must log in using their own FSA ID to complete their section and sign your FAFSA. If your parent has no Social Security Number, they must create an FSA ID this year. If your parents file taxes separately, each may need their own individual FSA ID to complete separate sections. Again, starting the FAFSA early will help ensure your parent(s) have more time to do their section(s).

The IRS's connection to the FAFSA is different.

When you start the FAFSA, you and your parent(s), if their information is required, will need to consent to the IRS sharing your federal tax information with the FAFSA. Consent is required to be eligible for federal financial aid. If you consent, you will see minimal tax questions if you file taxes, and if you are a non-tax filer, you won't see any questions about income. There are a few situations in which you or your parent(s) must manually enter tax information, like if you filed a foreign tax return. 

Student Aid Index (SAI) replaced Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The SAI is the number the FAFSA will calculate for you after you submit it. While the SAI and EFC are similar in how they are used to determine your eligibility for financial aid, the underlying calculation has changed. An SAI of 0 or below will make you eligible for a full federal Pell Grant, and you can receive an SAI as low as -1,500. If you see a significant difference between your SAI and last year's EFC or if you notice the financial aid offered for next year is less than what you’ve previously received, talk to your financial aid office to understand why. Learn more about the SAI.  

While the FAFSA will look and feel different, it still does the same thing–it helps you get financial aid for college. Get started now, and if you need help, check out our FAFSA resources and virtual financial aid events for support.