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2024-25 FAFSA® Changes


The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to offer federal student aid starting with the 2024-25 academic year. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), needs analysis (means of determining aid eligibility), and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs. The law will affect every school that offers assistance from the federal student aid programs.

Additionally, the law has the potential to affect eligibility for state financial aid programs that use FAFSA® data to determine whether certain criteria are met.

**2024-25 FAFSA® Available by December 31, 2023

Historically, the FAFSA® has been available beginning October 1 each year. For the 2024-25 academic year, the FAFSA® will be available by December 31, 2023. Updates on an exact date will be posted here when announced.

Terminology updates that all students and parents should be familiar with:

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be Student Aid Index (SAI)
  • Student Aid Report (SAR) will be FAFSA® Submission Summary (FSS)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) will be IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX)
  • "Contributor" is anyone (student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, and/or the parent’s spouse) who is required to provide information on the FAFSA form, sign the FAFSA form, and provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred directly from the IRS into the form.

The FAFSA® will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. The FAFSA® on the web is dynamic, meaning some students will not be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it easier for students and their families to apply for financial aid.

A contributor is anyone who is required to provide consent for Federal Tax Information (FTI) and a signature on the FAFSA® including:

  • The student
  • The student's spouse (if applicable)
  • A biological or adoptive parent; or
  • The spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA® (i.e., a stepparent)

The new FAFSA® is student-driven, meaning the student's answers on their section will determine who will be a contributor (in addition to the student). Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete their required portion of the FAFSA®. Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA®.

If a dependent student's parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will be contributors, will need to have separate Federal Student Aid (FSA) IDs, and need to provide consent. Dependent students whose parents filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly only require one parent contributor to complete the FAFSA®. If the student's parents filed separately, both parents will be considered contributors and therefore need separate FSA IDs.

If an independent student is married and filed separately, both individuals are contributors and must have FSA IDs.

To create an FSA ID, please visit the Create Account webpage one the Federal Student Aid website.

Parent Wizard: A tool helps students identify the correct contributor if they’re unsure.

For the FAFSA® to process successfully, consent must be provided by all required contributors (student, parent, parent spouse, and/or student spouse) on the FAFSA®. This allows the Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred from the IRS to be provided to higher education institutions, state higher education agencies, and designated scholarship organizations.

Consent is provided once for the academic year and cannot be revoked in that academic year. This consent is necessary even if the contributor does not have:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • did not files taxes, or
  • filled taxes in another country.

Determining what parent(s) to include on the FAFSA® is changing. Income and assets are to be reported for the parent who provides the most financial support even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with the other parent.

In previous years, if a student’s parents were divorced or separated, the parent with whom the student lived the most in the past 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA® was to be listed; however, this is no longer the primary consideration.

Parental Income on FAFSA®

  1. Parents who live together
    • Parental income and assets in the case of a student whose parents are married and not separated, or who are unmarried but live together, shall include the income and assets of both parents.
  2. Divorced or separated parents
    • Parental income and assets for a student whose parents are divorced or separated, but not remarried, is determined by including only the income and assets of the parent who provides the greater portion of the student's financial support.
  3. Death of a parent
    • Parental income and assets in the case of the death of any parent is determined as follows:
      • If either of the parents has died, the surviving parent shall be considered a single parent, unless that parent has remarried.
      • If both parents have died, the student shall not report any parental income or assets.
  4. Remarried parents
    • If a parent who is divorced or widowed and would be included on the FAFSA® has remarried, the income of the parent's spouse must be included if the student's parent and the stepparent are married as of the date the FAFSA® is completed.
  5. Single parent
    • For a single parent who is not divorced, separated, or remarried, the income and assets of the single parent shall be included.

Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college, and they will experience a change in how eligibility for the federal student aid programs is determined. The new needs analysis formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, allows a minimum Student Aid Index (SAI) of -1500, and implements separate eligibility determination criteria for Federal Pell Grants.

Federal Student Aid has released a Federal Student Aid Estimator to help students find out how much federal student aid they may be eligible for using an estimate of the SAI.

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 Financial Aid office 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.

The FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty guidelines that were in effect during the tax year being requested on the FAFSA®. Additionally, for students who qualify, the amount of Federal Pell Grant will be based on enrollment intensity according to the chart below.

Credit Hours Enrollment Intensity (New) Enrollment Level (Old)
12 (or more) 100% Full-Time (100%)
Three-Quarter Time (75%)
Half-Time (50%)
Less Than Half-Time (25%)

Though the FAFSA® will ask how many of the student’s household members are in college, the answer will not be calculated into the Student Aid Index (SAI). As such, undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility. Guidance for how a student should report their family size will align more closely with what was reported on the student’s/parent’s tax returns.

Need Analysis Update: The formula no longer considers the number of family members in college, impacting some students.

A new IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) will replace the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) built into the FAFSA® for importing student, parent, parent spouse, and/or student spouse Federal Tax Information (FTI). Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS DRT.

All persons on the FAFSA® must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA® and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

When applicable, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, students should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

  • 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
  • The FAFSA is decreasing the number of questions from 108 to 46. Some questions will be reworded to make them easier to understand.
  • Language-specific resources and support will also be available from FSA Information Center

What is NOT changing?

  • The general types of aid available to students and federal student loan limits.
  • The FAFSA® will still be required for consideration of federal financial aid every year as well as for certain state and institutional aid programs.
    • NOTE: Though the release of the FAFSA® is delayed for 2024-25, the Department of Education will continue to make it available on October 1 starting again with the 2025-26 FAFSA®.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA® remain the same.
  • The FAFSA® will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means students will report 2022 income and assets on the 2024-25 application. Families with significant reductions in income levels can review the special circumstance process.
  • The questions regarding a student's gender, race, and ethnicity will continue to have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. This information is collected by the Department of Education and is not shared with Texas A&M International University.
  • Admission application deadlines will not change.


2024-2025 FAFSA® Changes Flyer

Texas A&M International University
Zaffirini Student Success Center Suite 214
5201 University Blvd.
Laredo, TX 78041
Phone 956.326.2225
Fax 956.326.2224
Email financialaid@tamiu.edu