Summary of Changes
The 2024-2025 FAFSA release is delayed and will become available by December 31st 2023, as announced by the Department of Education. There is a consensus that the FAFSA is most likely to release at the end of December, if not on December 31st, due to the extensive changes still in progress.
This change is only temporary for the 2024-2025 academic year to accommodate the extensive work required to overhaul the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. In the 2025-2026 aid year, the FAFSA will be available on October 1st as usual.
The Department of Education announced that student's FAFSA submissions will not be provided to their selected colleges until the middle of March 2024.
This means that our Student Financial Aid office cannot confirm that your FAFSA has been received until a month or more after you have submitted it. Commonwealth University anticipates that we will start sending financial aid notifications via email by March 2024. In the meantime, you may always check studentaid.gov to view if your FAFSA was processed successfully.
The new term contributor has been introduced to the 2024-2025 FAFSA, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form.
The new FAFSA is student driven, so that means the student's answers on their section will determine who will be a contributor. Contributors besides the student and parent may now include the student’s spouse or the parent’s spouse (stepparent). Contributors will each log in to the FAFSA separately with their own StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID) to complete each of their specific sections and questions that only they can view.
Students and all contributors must register for a StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID) to complete and sign the online 2024-2025 FAFSA.
The ability to create an StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID) has historically been limited only to parents who can be verified with a Social Security Number. However, starting in December 2023, all parent and spouse contributors without a SSN may now create one using the Department of Education's newly developed system to validate identity. Further guidance for using the updated StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID) process is anticipated in December.
All contributors should create a StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID) as soon as possible as it may take up to 3 business days to become active.
Rather than importing tax information into the FAFSA using the previously used IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), contributors will now consent to transfer their tax information through the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX). This will reduce the number of financial questions that most families will see on the FAFSA.
The student and all contributors must provide this consent and approval on the FAFSA in order to be eligible for federal student aid. Providing consent even applies to contributors who don't have a Social Security Number, didn't file 2022 taxes, or who filed taxes outside the US.
The methodology used to measure a families ability to pay for college and their resulting financial aid eligibility, currently known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).
The SAI is used to determine eligibility for Federal Pell Grants and other need-based aid.
Adjustments to the new Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation and eligibility formulas are estimated to increase the number of Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%.
Eligibility for federal student aid will also be expanded by removing the questions related to Selective Service registration and drug conviction status, and restoring access to Pell grant for incarcerated students under specific programs.
Homeless, orphan, former foster youth, and unaccompanied youth—as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information because of unusual circumstances—will be able to complete the FAFSA with a provisional independent status determination and receive a calculated Student Aid Index (SAI).
Once the FAFSA is submitted, students can then reach out to the Office of Financial Aid to request that their independent status determination be approved based on supporting documentation. The student will receive an automatic renewal of the independent status (starting in 2025-2026) as long as their circumstances remain unchanged.
- Students may now send their FAFSA to up to 20 colleges
- The FAFSA will be expanded to the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents
- Language-specific resources and support will also be available from FSA Information Center
- Once the FAFSA has been started, students will now be able to view the status, including contributor progress, on their StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID)
- Once all required data has been provided and all sections have been signed, any contributor can submit the FAFSA form
After the FAFSA form is processed, a contributor is able to correct or update only their sections of the student’s application
- The results of the FAFSA form sent to the applicant in a document is now known as the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS), with it formerly being called the Student Aid Report (SAR)
- A demographic data survey will be added to the FAFSA with questions related to race, ethnicity, and gender. The survey will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and is used only for statistical purposes.