With October comes the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2023-2024 school season! This year, the application has a few updates, including some big FAFSA updates thanks to a bill that passed in December 2021.
Read on to discover what major changes the FAFSA form has in store as well as some important dates and information you should note.
When Does the 2023-2024 FAFSA Become Available?
The FAFSA for 2023-2024 financial aid award year will become available on October 1st, 2022. The deadline for this financial aid award year is June 30th, 2024. It’s generally not recommended you wait that long to complete it, however. Many schools and states have much earlier deadlines for financial aid packages, and the longer you wait, the less likely you are to receive institutional grant aid from colleges. Find the FAFSA deadline 2022 by state at FAFSA® Application | Federal Student Aid.
2022-2023 FAFSA Updates
In December 2021, Congress passed a package that included emergency pandemic relief as well as policy changes for higher education. A number of changes will go into effect on July 1st, 2023, but some will already be reflected on the upcoming FAFSA.
These FAFSA Changes include:
- The application will only have, at most, 36 questions, down from 108.
- The Student Aid Index (SAI) is being replaced with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which will help students and their families make better sense of their award letters.
- Additional information will be supplied regarding Pell Grant eligibility ahead of time if students wish to check.
- Pell Grants are available again to those who have been in jail or prison, have drug-related convictions, and men who haven’t registered for Selective Service.
- Questions regarding Selective Service and drug conviction eligibility have also been entirely removed.
- Easier application processes for those in foster care or homeless.
- The myStudent Aid app was also retired at the end of June, 2022.
In addition, the look and feel of FAFSA has been updated. It is more user friendly, site navigation is easier, and applicants can say whether they’re a student, parent, or preparer before the application is started. Helpful text and explanations have also been included on the online form itself to provide information about what documents or details are needed from the applicant. This is an effort to make the FAFSA much easier to understand and complete.
Ready to File the FAFSA?
There are some significant changes coming to the FAFSA this October, and it’s important to understand how those impact you and your ability to get financial aid. To properly prepare for your application, you should also have a few documents and information on hand, including
- Your Social Security number or Alien Registration number if you are not a United States citizen
- Yours and/or your parents’ federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other income details
- Records of any untaxed income
- Your FSA ID
- Bank statements
- Records of investments
It’s important to complete your FAFSA to the best of your ability and be truthful – lying on this application or making errors can have serious consequences.
The FAFSA usually has some updates year to year, but the 2023-2024 financial aid award year will definitely see some major changes for applicants. Most of them are designed to make the FAFSA easier to complete. Remember to keep up on updates, too, if you fill out your application in later years!