2024-25 FAFSA Changes

Congress made big changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to the formula that determines a student’s federal financial aid eligibility. These changes are expected to benefit many students.

When will the 2024-2025 FAFSA be available?

The 2024-2025 FAFSA has been available since December 30th, 2023, and OTC is carefully reviewing FAFSAs as students submit them. We look forward to awarding financial aid for the 2024-2025 year within the next few weeks. Students will be notified when their aid offer is ready to review, and our College Navigators are ready to answer questions.

If a mistake was made on the 2024-2025 FAFSA, corrections cannot be made until late April. We will update this webpage once FAFSA changes can be made.

What is changing with the FAFSA?

The 2024-2025 FAFSA changes mean a better user experience, more aid eligibility for many students, and reduced barriers for certain student populations.

The FAFSA will be shorter and more user friendly.

The number of questions on the FAFSA dropped drastically, from over 100 to just 46. And because the online FAFSA has skip-logic built in, some students won’t need to answer all 46 questions. Overall, the FAFSA won’t take as long to complete.

Students may list up to 20 colleges.

Previously, the FAFSA allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.

The FAFSA will be available in more languages.

The FAFSA was only available in English and Spanish, but the 2024-2025 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their families.

Applicants will be required to transfer their 2022 tax information from the IRS.

Before, students and families had a choice: manually enter their tax information or transfer it directly from the IRS using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). With the 2024-2025 FAFSA, all FAFSA users must provide consent for the U.S. Department of Education to receive tax information (or confirmation that the person did not file a return) directly from the IRS. Very rarely, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most that information will be automatically transferred into the FAFSA, saving a lot of time.

All contributors must provide financial information.

A ‘Contributor’ — a new term being introduced with the 2024-2025 FAFSA — refers to anyone who is required to provide their information on a student’s FAFSA, such as a parent, step-parent, or spouse. The FAFSA will tell the student who is a contributor and will be required to provide their financial information.

Contributors will receive an email prompting them to log into the FAFSA using their own FSA ID to provide the required information.

Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs. But it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the student will not be able to receive federal student aid.

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been changed to the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name better describes how schools use the FAFSA to award financial aid.

The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI.

The number of household members attending college used to be part of the financial aid awarding formula. Starting with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. Because of this, OTC students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.

If a student’s parents are divorced or separated, the parent who provided the most financial support to the student will report their information on the 2024-2025 FAFSA. This is different than previous year FAFSAs, where the parent required to help fill out the FAFSA was the one that the student primarily lived with. This better accounts for the financial support a student is receiving from family.

Family farms and small business must be reported as assets.

Some families will need to report the equity of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes their primary home, then the applicant should first subtract the equity in their home from the equity in their farm.

Equity, by the way, is generally whatever the business or farm could be sold for minus what the family still owes on it.

What is not changing?

While the FAFSA is being updated and the eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of federal student aid-related matters that will not change.

  • The general types of aid available to OTC students and federal student loan limits will not change.
  • The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA will remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you’ll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-2025 application.

Disclaimer

OTC’s Financial Aid Office is dedicated to providing timely updates to students, families, and our community. Due to the significant amount of changes that are occurring, portions of our website may not yet be 100% accurate for the 2024-2025 academic year. We will continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.