JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

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

The 2024-25 FAFSA will incorporate significant changes as a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act passed in December 2020. The goal of the new FAFSA is to simplify and streamline the process to apply for apply for financial aid.

The application will look different and have less questions for students to answer. Below are some of the most significant changes for you to be aware of in the 2024-25 FAFSA:

  1. The 2024-25 FAFSA will not be available on October 1st. Due to the changes, the FAFSA will be available in December 2023.
  2. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is changing to the Student Aid Index (SAI).
  3. Everyone reporting information on the FAFSA will need to have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID – We mean everyone!
  4. The new application will be role-based. This means students will login to complete their section and parents will login to complete theirs.
  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 will now be considered investments and must be reported on the FAFSA.
  7. Reporting of federal tax information (FTI) on the FAFSA is changing. Everyone will now be required to give consent to have their FTI transferred onto the FAFSA
  8. The formula for calculating Pell is changing and more students will now be eligible for a Pell Grant.
  9. The number of schools a student can list will increase from 10 to 20.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – As of 9/26/2023

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 will be available in December 2023. An exact date has not been announced by the Department of Education. Next year, the 2025-26 FAFSA is expected to be available again on October 1st.

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.

Starting this year, parents without a Social Security Number will also need an FSA ID. The process for obtaining an FSA ID for parents without a Social Security Number is not yet available. Availability will be announced by the Department of Education at a later time.

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.

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. The past exception of not reporting small businesses/farms has been removed. 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 is being 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 will not receive 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 will now allow students to list up to 20 colleges (previously 10) on their FAFSA. Students who wish to list more than 20 colleges will need to re-login to make a correction to add more.