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Financial Matters: Important, Simplifying Changes to FAFSA

fafsa financial aid Nov 04, 2023

For many families, financial aid is crucial to affording college. The first step in applying for college aid, including college work-study, scholarships, and grants—funds that do not have to be repaid—is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

This year, a new, simplified FAFSA application will roll out. Among the important changes to be aware of is the new FAFSA will be released in December 2023 for the academic year 2024-2025.


Despite the two-month delay (FAFSA enrollment usually begins on October 1st), families are encouraged to complete the form as soon as possible because financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Most years, billions of dollars in federal grants go unawarded because families incorrectly assume they won’t qualify for aid. Also, in the past, many have been discouraged from applying due to the complexity of the FAFSA application.

Fortunately, the new FAFSA has been simplified. While many expect a few rollout hiccups, the changes will be less complicated, beginning with a simpler calculation to determine student aid eligibility. Additional simplifications include:

  • Reducing the number of questions from 108 to about 36.
  • Eliminating the requirement that students register for the selective services and automatic disqualification if a student had a drug-related conviction.
  • The application will be translated into atleast 11 languages.
  • Automatic transfer of IRS (tax return) data to FAFSA will eliminate complicated asset disclosures for many families.
  • Increasing aid eligibility for single parents.
  • Expanding Pell Grant eligibility.
  • More need-based aid. While FAFSA previously considered the number of children attending college and other household financial commitments, such considerations have been eliminated, likely impacting more middle and higher-income families. For more information, visit:


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

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