JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

­The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®):
What You Need to Know

The 2024-25 FAFSA incorporated significant changes based on the FAFSA Simplification Act passed in December 2020. The goal for these changes was to simplify and streamline the process to apply for federal financial aid. If you or anyone you know needs assistance with completing a financial aid application, contact your local ISACorps member.

Below are some of the most significant changes for you to be aware of for the 2024-25 FAFSA:

  1. The 2024-25 FAFSA is now available!
  2. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is now called the Student Aid Index (SAI)
  3. Everyone reporting information on the FAFSA must have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID – We mean everyone!
  4. The application is role-based. Students and parents will each log in to complete their own sections of the form
  5. Parental information is changing. The definition of a parent for purposes of financial aid has not changed; however, for divorced or separated parents, the criteria for determining which parent must report their information has changed
  6. All businesses and investment farms are considered investments and must be reported on the FAFSA, if a student and family are required to report investments
  7. Everyone is required to give consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred onto the FAFSA
  8. The formula for calculating Pell has changed and more students are eligible for a Pell Grant
  9. Students can list up to 20 schools on the FAFSA
  10. The Department of Education has started processing FAFSAs. Institutions are starting to receive Institutional Student Information Records (ISIR’s) and students will start to receive FAFSA Submission Summaries.
  11. All contributors without a Social Security number (SSN) can now immediately access the online FAFSA form and submit the form after creating their FSA ID. The Department is temporarily allowing individuals without an SSN to enter and complete the FAFSA form without verifying their identities. These individuals will need to manually enter their tax information.

The 2024-25 FAFSA is experiencing several issues and glitches affecting students and families. Professionals can access the Department of Education’s Open Issue Alert page, to learn more about current issues and those that have been resolved.

Please visit our schedule for professional development offerings on topics like these and more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – As of 5/20/2024

Click on the plus (+) sign next to each question to view the answer.

Q1: When will the 2024-25 FAFSA become available?

A1: The 2024-25 FAFSA became available on December 30th, 2023. Students and families can access the form 24/7. The 2025-26 FAFSA is expected to be available on October 1, 2024.

Q2: What is the Student Aid Index (SAI)?

A2: The SAI is replacing the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The SAI is an evaluation of a student’s approximate financial resources that can be contributed to their education. The SAI will be used to determine eligibility for all federal student aid except for the Pell Grant.

Q3: What is a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID?

A3: An FSA ID is a username and password needed to access Federal Student Aid websites. Students and parents need an FSA ID to access the FAFSA and sign it electronically. Getting an FSA ID could involve multiple steps and verification could take some time, so everyone who needs an FSA ID is encouraged to get one at least a week before they intend to complete the FAFSA.

Q4: Who needs an FSA ID?

A4: Everyone! A student and their parent(s) will each need their own FSA ID. To create an FSA ID, visit https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch.

Parents who are unmarried but living together and parents who are married but file their tax returns separately will each need their own FSA ID.

For parent(s) without a Social Security Number (SSN), you also need an FSA ID. During the creation of the FSA ID, select the box, “I am a parent of a student who is applying for aid, and I do not have an SSN”. You will be asked to verify your identity through a series of knowledge-based questions. If you are unable to verify your identity you will be asked to complete the following:

  • You will be automatically assigned a manual verification (MANVER) case number from Federal Student Aid. The MANVER case number will be sent via email. The email will include instructions on how to submit the attestation form and supporting documents.
  • Complete the Attestation Form (available in English and Spanish) and provide proof of your identity with one of the following: Driver’s license, state or city ID card, or a Foreign Passport.
  • Submit the supporting documentation and attestation form to IDVerification@ed.gov.
  • Contributors who do not have a social security number can now complete their section of the FAFSA, however, FSA has identified two remaining issues for contributors without social security numbers:

    1. 📂📬 Must report tax information manually because they are still unable to use the Direct Data Exchange (DDX).
    2. 📃📬 Personal Identifiable Information (PII) on the invite page must match exactly what is on the parent contributors FSA ID. Otherwise the invitation to contribute will not work.

Q5: Who is considered a parent, for purposes of the FAFSA? Who is reported on the FAFSA?

A5: A student’s biological, adoptive, or stepparent(s) (while married to biological or adoptive parent) is considered a parent and is required to report their information on the FAFSA.

If a student’s parents are divorced or separated, the parent who provided the most financial support in the last 12 months is reported on the FAFSA (including their spouse’s if they are remarried).

If both parents provide an equal amount of financial support, then the parent who has greater income and assets is reported on a student’s FAFSA.

Q6: How many questions will be on the 2024-25 FAFSA?

A6: The number of questions a student and family will answer has been decreased to approximately 50. Many families will answer less than 50 questions based on their income information and the skip logic built into the form that hides questions not relevant to the student or family.

Q7: My family owns a business or an investment farm. Do I need to report it on the FAFSA?

A7: Yes, if you are required to report investments on the FAFSA. Not every family is required to report their investment information. If you are required to report investment information ALL businesses and investment farms owned by the student/family must be reported on the FAFSA. A family will report the net worth of the business or investment farm. To determine the net worth: current value-debt owed = net worth

Q8: Can I still use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import my tax information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the FAFSA?

A8: The IRS Data Retrieval tool has been retired and replaced by the Direct Data Exchange (DDX). To be eligible for federal student aid, all contributors (students, parents, spouses) must provide consent to allow the Department of Education to request, and the IRS to transfer, federal tax information (FTI) needed to determine student eligibility. If consent is not given by all contributors, students are ineligible for federal student aid.

Q9: How do I know if I am eligible for a Pell grant?

A9: A Pell grant will now be its own calculation using the SAI. To get an estimate of Pell Grant eligibility, complete the Federal Student Aid Estimator. Note, however, that all aid will be included in the financial aid offer sent to students by the colleges listed on their FAFSA.

Q10: How many colleges can I list on the FAFSA?

A10: The FAFSA allows students to list up to 20 colleges on their FAFSA. Students who wish to list more than 20 colleges will need to re-login to make a correction to add more.

Q11: When will I be able to make a correction to the 2024-25 FAFSA?

A11: The Department of Education has released the correction feature on the FAFSA. Once students complete the FAFSA and they receive an email that their application has been successfully processed, they can re-login to make any corrections needed.

Q12: When will I receive a FAFSA Submission Summary (formerly known as the Student Aid Report (SAR))?

A12: Students will receive their FAFSA Submission Summary once their FAFSA has been processed. The Department of Education has been processing online FAFSAs as normal. Paper FAFSA’s will be processed by the end of June.

Q13: When will information be available in the Gift Assistance Program (GAP) Access portal for counselors to view who has completed a financial aid application?

A13: GAP Access is now fully functional as financial aid completion data is uploaded and matching.