More students will be eligible for federal financial aid beginning in the 2024-2025 school year.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), will be receiving a major overhaul in how it calculates student aid in the first substantial redesign of the system in more than 40 years.
“The changes are substantial. Essentially, Congress changed the methodology for determining eligibility for federal student aid. While the FAFSA form itself is streamlined for the benefit of students, the formulas behind the scenes are significantly different,” BYU’s Financial Office said.
Which students will receive more aid and which will receive less is not quite clear yet, but certain groups may see changes.
“We anticipate that the mix of students may be different. In years past, the formula was sensitive to the number of students in a household,” the Financial Office said. “However, that particular component has been removed. The new methodology will direct more aid to the most needy students, but it may come at the expense of those in the so-called middle class.”
The form will be greatly simplified, with the application going from 108 questions to 36. It will also be easier to import income data from tax records, the FAFSA website said.
According to the Financial Office, the FAFSA form will open sometime this December, differing from previous years when the form was made available online on Oct. 1.
“Once it goes live, students should complete it as soon as possible,” the Office said.
To prepare for the new form, families and students will need a Federal Student Aid ID, which can be created here. Both students and parents will need to create a Student Aid Account prior to completing the form.
After the form has been submitted, the Office said students “should be vigilant in completing any tasks in a timely way so as not to delay receiving funds. We also encourage students to set up direct deposit through the university to expedite disbursement of excess aid.”
With something as consequential as FAFSA, there is a chance there will be hiccups in the implementation, the Office said.
“Things tend to work out, but patience, grace and goodwill always help,” the Office said.
Students from across the nation have benefitted from federal aid.
“I have signed up for FAFSA and gotten my entire college career paid for through FAFSA, through a Pell Grant, which means I don’t have to pay it back … which is really awesome,” BYU senior Ethan Rutherford said.
When asked how his college career would be without financial aid, another BYU student said, “I probably would not have gone to college.”
For many, federal aid such as Pell Grants allow students to be less stressed throughout their college experience.
“I would need to work more, which would give me less time to enjoy college life and focus on my studies,” Rutherford said, speaking about a life without federal aid. “It would also stress me out because I probably would have to take out a loan and go into debt which, you know, has just become the norm for most college kids.”
Completing the FAFSA form is necessary for eligible students to be considered for Pell Grants and government-issued loans. The results are also used by many colleges and departments on campus to award scholarships, BYU’s Financial Office said.
Students and parents can find more information about the FAFSA changes here.