The new FAFSA has streamlined the application process, shortening the application from more than 100 questions to less than 50. The 2024-25 FAFSA is available now! We are actively processing FAFSA applications on a daily basis and promptly communicating with students upon receipt.

We've broken down the changes so you don't have to!


The form has a new term called contributors. It refers to anyone who can provide information for the applicant’s FAFSA form, which can be any of the following:

What's New?

The FAFSA Simplification Act has numerous benefits, including a shorter application process with an easier experience for students and parents, greater eligibility for federal student aid, and less barriers for at-risk student populations. Check out some of the major changes:

  • The 2024-25 FAFSA has been significantly shortened, from over 100 questions in the 2023-24 FAFSA to less than 50 in the 2024-25 FAFSA. The FAFSA on the Web also more dynamic, meaning many students may not see all of the questions. Instead, students will see just those that are relevant to them.
  • On the previous FAFSA, users had the option to either enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, with many applicants choosing the latter. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all contributors on the FAFSA are required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange to share tax information or confirm non-filing status.
  • A new term being introduced in the 2024-25 FAFSA is a "contributor," which refers to any person who must provide information on a student's FAFSA form, such as parents, step-parents, or a spouse. A student's early answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors, if any, need to provide information. Applicable contributors will receive an email notifying them that they've been identified as an indicator and need to login to the FAFSA using their own FSA ID (NOT the student's) and provide the required information.
  • Being a contributor does not mean that they are responsible for the student's educational costs, but it does mean that the contributor must provide information to the FAFSA. If they do not, the student's application will be incomplete and they will not be eligible for any federal student aid.
  • Many students and families who have completed a FAFSA before may be familiar with the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, which is how the FAFSA calculated a student's aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the EFC is being replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI), which a more accurate description of a student's aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, can be a negative number as low as -1,500.
  • Please note that, like the EFC, a lower SAI typically indicates greater student aid eligibility when it comes to need-based aid. Thus, a negative SAI is not a bad thing for the student, but rather indicates exceptional student need beyond simply having a 0 in that field.
  • The number of family members in college will not be used to calculate SAI.
  • In past FAFSAs, the FAFSA took the number of household members in college into account when calculating the EFC, with that number being divided proportionally to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA however, while the application will still ask how many household members are in college, the answer to that question will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, students, and particularly students with siblings in college, may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.
  • Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, families making less than 175% and single parent families making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will have their students automatically receive the maximum Federal Pell Grant award amount. Minimum Pell Grant awards will be guaranteed to students from households (depending on household structure) below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level. Pell Grant awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by a student's SAI.
  • For dependent students, the FAFSA previously required financial information from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the previous 12 months. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, financial information will instead be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student during that time.
  • Two additional family assets can now be required to be reported beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA. When required, families must report the value of their small business or family farm. Should the family farm include the principal residence of the household, application will need to determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.
  • Trellis is a nonprofit organization and trusted partner that works with San Jacinto College to help our students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Trellis may ask you to confirm your identity using your name and date of birth. Trellis will provide assistance with the FAFSA but does not collect any documents from you and cannot make any changes to any of your applications or data.

What Has Not Changed?

While the FAFSA is receiving updates and the aid eligibility calculations are being revised, many aid-related matters will not change.

Types of Aid Available

The general types of aid available to SJC students and their federal student loan limits will not change.

Annual FAFSA Requirement

The FAFSA will still be required for consideration for federal and state financial aid every year.

Dependency Status Questions

Dependency status questions concerns can be addressed through an Unusual Circumstance Request form. Please see our financial aid office for more details.


Tax Information Requirement

The FAFSA still requires tax information from the prior-prior year, meaning that for the 2024-25 FAFSA you will report your 2022 income. Families that had significant reductions in their income can consider submitting a Special Circumstance Request. Please see our financial aid office for more details.

Questions for Statistical Purposes

The questions regarding an applicant's gender, race, and ethnicity will remain on the FAFSA. These have no effect on a student's financial aid eligibility and are solely included for statistical purposes and data collection by the Department of Education.

Need to Make Changes to Your Application?

Below are some helpful documents that can assist you in making changes to your FAFSA.

Steps to Correct or Update the Application

Most questions on the FAFSA® want to know your situation as of the day you sign the application. However, there are some instances in which you’ll want to (or be required to) change the information you reported after it has been processed. To do this, follow the:

Add a Missing Signature

All required contributors (you, your parent(s), your spouse) must provide a signature on your 2024–25 FAFSA form. If your form is missing one or more required signatures, it isn’t complete, and you won’t be eligible for federal student aid. Find out how to:

Changing the "Direct Unsubsidized Loan Only" Question

On the FAFSA, dependent students can indicate that their parents are unwilling to provide their information and therefore want to apply for only a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. But, if the student doesn’t provide parent information, they're automatically not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, or a Direct Subsidized Loan. If you selected to apply for only a Direct Unsubsidized Loan by mistake, learn how to:

one time date-change

The FAFSA Application will return to its original October 1st opening date for the 2025-26 school year.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions about the new FASFA form, please contact us.

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