On March 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education USDE) announced that a simplified version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will debut in December 2023. The announcement came after a number of organizations pressured the USDE for more information regarding FAFSA dates, since states, colleges and access groups would need time to make significant adjustments to their systems and processes based on the FAFSA release date. Also, in December 2023 the USDE’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), will publish a “testing and demonstration” website for counselors and financial aid administrators to help staff, students and families navigate the updated form.
Normally, the financial aid form goes live in October of every year, but the USDE is in the process of streamlining the application after Congress approved changes to it in 2020. The re-designed FAFSA will apply to students seeking aid for the 2024-25 academic year.
Originally, a revised FAFSA was scheduled to go live for the 2023-24 academic year. However, in 2021 the USDE delayed implementation until the 2024-25 due to issues related to outdated technology.
Lastly, sometime in spring 2023, the USDE will publish tools to help school officials understand differences between the Expected Family Contribution ( EFC), which has been the metric for determining how much students and families pay for college after aid, and the upcoming Student Aid Index, which will function similarly to the EFC. Also, beginning this summer webinars will be offered to administrators to become familiar with the changes in the application and financial aid eligibility.
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