FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid starting with the 2024–25 award year. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, need calculation, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

FAFSA changes for 2024-2025

FAFSA Completion Date

• The 2024-2025 FAFSA opened with a “Soft Launch” on Dec. 31. During the soft launch, the FAFSA processing center will open the application so students can begin working on it in short intervals. This is being done to help them learn and adapt the application if glitches come up. This is all a temporary change.  In future years, the FAFSA should open on Oct. 1.

• If you will be enrolling in classes for the Fall of 2024, submit a 2024-2025 FAFSA. Keep in mind that the Department of Education has notified colleges and universities that they will not be able to access and view students' 2024-25 FAFSA applications during the month of January.

Streamlined Application Process

• The new FAFSA will feature fewer questions, fewer requirements, and retrieve tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

New Terminology

• The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will now be referred to as the Student Aid Index (SAI). The new formula removes the number of family members in college from the calculation, allows a minimum SAI of -1500, and implements a separate eligibility determination criterion for Federal Pell Grants.

• The new FAFSA introduces the term contributor, which refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse. 

Expanding Pell Grant Eligibility

• Federal Pell Grant eligibility is expanded to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level.  

Prepare for the FAFSA

Right now, you can work on preparing to complete the FAFSA. Typically, a student would want to complete the FAFSA within the first three months of the application opening.  See the steps below to help make your time completing the 2024-2025 FAFSA a success:

• Create an FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website and assist contributors, such as your parent(s) or spouse, in creating an FSA ID.

• An FSA ID is an account and password that gives you access to the Federal Student Aid’s online system and serves as your electronic signature.

• With the FSA ID, you can fill out the FAFSA when it’s available, sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN), apply for repayment plans, complete loan counseling, and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool.

• If you already have an FSA ID, there is no need to create a new one.  Your existing FSA ID will continue to work.

• Gather your tax return information and other important items, such as your driver's license and social security card, so you are able to respond to questions while completing the application.


Our office will continue to update and notify students as we become aware of 2024-2025 FAFSA Application news through email, social media, and website updates here. 


• It is OK if you have questions. The financial aid office is here for you if you need to talk through the application or need ideas to help cover college costs. Please email us at finaid@piedmont.edu or call us at 706-776-0114, and we can offer you assistance.