FAFSA Changes in 2024: What You Need to Know
It's true — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has changed. And those changes were made with applicants like you in mind.
Chris Couture, assistant director of training for student financial services at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), said the recent update is actually intended to simplify the application process for students and parents. As a financial aid expert who's been a part of SNHU for more than eight years, Couture offered some insight into The FAFSA Simplification Act, which ushered in these recent changes to the application.
"The FAFSA Simplification Act is trying to trim down the amount of information that parents and students need to provide on the FAFSA in order to become eligible," he said. "It's the biggest, most sweeping changes the Department of Education has ever done to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid."
So, how much simpler is the new version of the application, exactly?
"The biggest changes are just reducing the amount of questions that they have to answer," Couture said. "They're reducing it from over 100 questions down to roughly 38 questions that students and parents will have to complete in order to become eligible for federal student aid."
That means if you're applying for financial aid via FAFSA this year, you'll save a lot of time and energy compared to those who have applied in the past. With these updates, Couture said you should plan to set aside 30 to 45 minutes to fill out the application and answer all the required questions. However, there's another change you should know about.
Although the application has largely been simplified, Couture noted that one requirement has been added. "Some of the changes will require students and parents to transfer their information from the IRS to the Department of Education," said Couture. "And that's a huge change that wasn't present on prior years — that used to be optional."
The changes to FAFSA are now live for the 2024-2025 school year. But remember, you aren't on your own in this process.
"Financial aid and eligibility for financial aid is extremely complex," Couture said. "I really love helping people understand things that can be complicated and that's why student financial services exists."
Mars Girolimon '21 '23G is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University where they earned their bachelor's and master's, both in English and creative writing. In addition to their work in higher education, Girolimon's short fiction is published in the North American Review, So It Goes by The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library, X-R-A-Y and more. They're currently writing their debut novel, which was Longlisted for The First Pages Prize. Connect with them on LinkedIn.
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