Exciting updates are on the horizon for the Free Applicationfor Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, as significant modifications areset to take effect for the 2024-2025 aid year!

2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available on October 1, 2023

Great news for students! The upcoming FAFSA application is going to be better than ever, thanks to significant changes that will take effect for the 2024-2025 aid year. While historically the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year, this time around,due to the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the application will be available in December 2023.

New and returning students who plan to begin classes at Bethune-Cookman University in the fall of 2024 should complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December. 

How can I Prepare for the 2024-2025 FAFSA Changes?

For the upcoming year, if you or any of your contributors such as your spouse or parent(s) need to fill out the FAFSA, creating an FSA ID before hand is now a must. You won't be able to submit the FAFSA, which will be available in December, without it. To avoid any delays or issues, we highly recommend creating an FSA ID as soon as possible.

FAQ’s New Changes to the Application

The FAFSA simplification act brings a host of advantages to students seeking federal student aid. With a streamlined application process and improved user experience, applying for aid has never been easier. Additionally, the expanded eligibility criteria mean that more students will now be able to access much-needed financial support.

The FAFSA application will be less than 108 questions

The FAFSA is set to become much more manageable with a significant reduction in the number of questions. From 108 down to just 36, this streamlined format aims to simplify the application process and ease the burden on students and their families. What's more, with a dynamic system in place,some students may not even have to answer all 36 questions, making the process even more straight forward. Overall, this new format promises to make applying for federal student aid a far less daunting prospect.

11 Common Languages

Starting in 2024-2025, the FAFSA application will be more accessible for English learner students and their parents, as it will be available in the 11 most commonly spoken non-English languages. This change will make it easier for students and their families to access financial aid resources and navigate the application process.

IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) Formally DRT

Before, users could either manually enter their tax information or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. However, starting from the 2024-25 academic year, all FAFSA applicants will be required to give their consent for the Department of Education to access their tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. Although there may be some exceptional cases where students and families have to manually enter their tax data, the majority will have it automatically transferred into the application. This change simplifies the FAFSA process and reduces the number of questions that need to be answered.

Who is a contributor?

Starting in the 2024-25 FAFSA, a new term will be introduced: contributor. This refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form, such as a parent, step parent, or spouse. Based on a student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA, contributors (if any) will be required to provide information. Contributors will receive an email notification that they've been identified as such and will need to log in using their FSA ID (if they don't already have one) to provide the necessary information on the student's FAFSA. It's important to note that being acontributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs. However, it does mean that the contributor must consent to provide information on the FAFSA, or else the application will be considered incomplete, and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.


The latest terminology update in the FAFSA has brought about a significant change - the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI more precisely denotes the figure that determines aid eligibility and it differs from the EFC in that it can be a negative number, going as low as -1500.

Impact of Household Size

Starting from the 2024-25 FAFSA, you won't have to worry about the number of household members attending college when it comes to federal aid eligibility. While the application will still ask for this information, it won't be calculated into the Student Aid Index (SAI) anymore. This means that undergraduate students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

Which parent is responsible for submitting the FAFSA?

Under the updated FAFSA guidelines, dependent students will now only need to provide financial information from the parent(s) who offered the most financial support in the last 12 months. This change aims to simplify the financial aid process and reduce confusion for students and their families.

Changes to Reported Assets

To ensure accurate and fair assessment, families are now requested to report the value of their small business or family farm. In the case of family farms that include the primary residence, applicants can determine the net value of all farm assets and then subtract the net value of their principal residence to arrive at the final value of their farm assets.