What is FAFSA Simplification?
FAFSA 2024-25 will open December 2023. The Department of Education, Federal Student Aid (FSA) Division, is working on several changes to make federal aid more accessible for students and families.
To-Do List for 2024-25 FAFSA
Before you start:
- Create or reconfirm your FSA ID. Everyone who needs to provide information on the FAFSA needs an FSA ID. This includes the student, the student's parents or stepparents (if the student is a dependent), and the student's spouse (if applicable).
- Gather your tax information. You will need to provide tax information for the student and their parents or stepparents, if applicable.
- Go to studentaid.gov and log in with your FSA ID.
- Complete the Student Section of the FAFSA.
- Indicate any contributors to your FAFSA. This includes your parents or stepparents (if you are a dependent student) and your spouse (if applicable).
- Ask your contributors to create FSA IDs and complete their sections of the FAFSA.
- Review your FAFSA and submit it.
- Start early. Some FAFSA funds are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so submitting it as early as possible is best.
- Be accurate. Provide complete and accurate information on the FAFSA. Any errors or omissions could delay your application or even make you ineligible for financial aid.
- Keep copies of all supporting documents. If selected by Federal Student Aid, you may be asked to provide copies of your tax returns, W-2s, and other documents to verify your information.
- Contact us for help if you have any questions about the FAFSA or need assistance completing it.
- If you are a dependent student, you must indicate your parents or stepparents as contributors on the FAFSA.
- If your parents are married and filed joint 2022 tax returns, only one parent needs to complete the FAFSA as a contributor.
- If your parents are married and filed separate 2022 tax returns, both parents need to complete the FAFSA as contributors.
- If your parents are divorced, separated, or never married, the parent who provides the most financial support should complete the FAFSA as a contributor.
- If you are married, you must indicate your spouse as a contributor on the FAFSA.
What is an FSA ID?
An FSA ID is a username and password that students and contributors use to access federal student aid websites, such as StudentAid.gov.
Who needs an FSA ID, and what is it used for?
All students and contributors must create an FSA ID if they are:
- Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form
- Signing your Master Promissory Note (MPN)
- Applying for repayment plans
- Completing loan counseling
- Using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool
How do I create an FSA ID?
- Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
You will also need to create a memorable username and password and complete challenge questions and answers to retrieve your account information if you forget it.
When should I create an FSA ID?
You can create an FSA ID at any time, but it is recommended that you create it at least a week or two before you start filling out the FAFSA form. This will give you time to verify your FSA ID and make sure that it is working properly.
What if I need help creating an FSA ID?
This Federal Student Aid video can help create a step-by-step FSA ID.
What is two-step verification and why do I have to set it up for my StudentAid.gov account?
Two-step verification is a security feature that helps protect your StudentAid.gov account from fraud. When you enable two-step verification, you will be required to enter a code from your mobile phone in addition to your username and password when you log in to your account.
Does each contributor need a unique phone number or email for multi-factor authentication?
Yes. Each contributor must have a unique phone number or email for multi-factor authentication.
Do both parents need to create an FSA ID or just one like before?
This depends on the family's situation. For example, if a student has married parents filing taxes separately, both parents will need to make an FSA ID.
What is the impact if the student and parent already have an FSA ID?
None. Just ensure they are verified and ready to use when the FAFSA 2024-25 opens sometime in December 2023.
Who are contributors for FAFSA 2024-25 purposes?
A contributor is anyone required to provide consent and approval for obtaining federal tax information needed to complete a student's FAFSA. If applicable, it may include:
- Student's spouse
- Biological or adopted parent
- Parent's spouse (stepparent)
Who are not contributors?
- Foster parents
- Legal guardians
- Brothers or sisters
- Aunts or uncles
How are contributors determined?
The student's or parent's answers to certain questions on the FAFSA form will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
What do contributors need to provide?
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Email address
- Personal and financial information
What steps do contributors need to follow?
- Receive an email informing you that you've been identified as a contributor.
- Create a StudentAid.gov account if you don't already have one.
- Log in to your account using your FSA ID account username and password.
- Review information about completing your section of the FAFSA form.
- Provide the required information on the student's FAFSA form.
What if I am a contributor and don't want to provide my information?
Being a contributor does not implicate financial responsibility. However, if a required contributor refuses to provide their information, it will result in an incomplete FAFSA form, and the student will become ineligible for federal student aid.
In cases where biological parents are not married, who should provide information on the FAFSA?
- The parent who provides the most financial support should complete it.
- If one parent pays child support, that parent should complete the FAFSA if the child support amounts to more than half of the student's support.
- If a dependent student's parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will need to complete the FAFSA as contributors.
- If the parent who provides most financial support is remarried, that parent and the stepparent's income should be on the FAFSA, even if they were not yet married on the requested tax year.
Why do I need to provide consent?
The Future Act requires all contributors on the FAFSA to provide consent to share their tax information with the IRS. This consent is necessary for the Department of Education to request federal tax information from the IRS and to use that information in the federal student aid application process.
What happens if I don't provide consent?
If you, as a student, or a spouse or parent, don't provide consent on the FAFSA, you will not be eligible for any federal aid.
What happens after someone provides consent, or Federal Taxes Information (FTI) Approval, on the 2024-25 FAFSA?
Providing consent allows the Department of Education to use your name and social security number to match with the IRS so the IRS may share your tax information with the Department of Education to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid.
Do I still need to provide consent if I had a low income and was not required to file taxes or even if I had zero wages?
Every contributor still needs to provide consent on the FAFSA, so the IRS can confirm to Federal Student Aid (FSA) that you, your parents, or spouse didn't file taxes.
What happens if a contributor provides consent but doesn't sign the application?
Starting 2024-25, all parties must complete the FAFSA application online. If a signature is missing, the parent or the contributor that needs to complete their section and/or sign the application must obtain an FSA ID and get into the application and complete their section.
Will students still be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)?
No. Starting FAFSA 2024-25, the DRT will no longer exist. Federal Student Aid (FSA) will now directly transfer Federal Tax Information (FTI) from the IRS into the FAFSA form as long as you have provided FSA with the consent to do so.
Will non-custodial parents be contributors if they have not claimed the child on their taxes?
Yes. Starting with the Simplified FAFSA, students will determine which parent to report based on which one provides the most financial support. The reported parents will provide consent to transfer their taxes data even if they do not claim the student on their taxes.
If parents who are remarried provide more financial support to the child than a biological parent, does the stepparent have to provide their tax information?
Yes. If the parent providing more financial support is remarried, the stepparent's tax information is required.
What if my parent or stepparent does not want to provide their tax information for my FAFSA?
We cannot provide tax advice, but our Federal Aid Counselors can offer to talk directly with the parent or stepparent to explain why the Department of Education requires their information.
Can my parent or I self-report our income on FAFSA?
Yes, but you still need to provide consent. We recommend you choose FAFSA provide your income from IRS taxes. If your situation has changed from the required tax year, please contact our office to request an appeal.
What if I had a low income and was not required to file taxes?
Students whose parents were not required to file a federal income tax return will automatically receive a SAI of -1500.
Why are assets different on the FAFSA 2024-25?
Starting 2024–25 award year, some financial information previously considered income or previously excluded from asset reporting will be required as assets instead. These include:
- Annual amount of child support received.
- Net worth of all businesses, regardless of the size or number of employees.
- Net worth of farm including the value of a family farm (family primary's residence is still excluded). This includes the fair market value of land, buildings, livestock, unharvested crops, and machinery actively used in investment farms or agricultural or commercial activities, minus any debts help against those assets.
- For dependent students, education savings accounts will only be counted as parental assets if the account is designated for the student.