Faculty Staff: 2024-2025 FAFSA Updates

2024-2025 FAFSA Updates for Faculty/Staff

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is getting an update. Through the FUTURE Act, passed by Congress in December 2019, and the FAFSA Simplification Act, passed by Congress in December 2021, we will have a new FAFSA effective for the 2024-2025 academic year. Not only will the FAFSA be updated, but we will see an expansion to eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant and many other changes that will expand access to Federal Financial Aid.  

Use the information below to help students navigate the changes to the FAFSA.

The Office of Scholarship & Financial Aid (OSFA) is dedicated to providing relevant updates to our students, their supporters, and our community. We'll continue to update this page as we learn more and receive additional information from the Department of Education. Thank you for your patience as we work to bring you the most up-to-date information.

Here's What You Need to Know Right Now

New, Streamlined Application

The simplified FAFSA has removed many complex income questions and now will import information directly from the IRS, shortening the application.

New Open

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now open, however, submitted FAFSAs are not currently being processed by the Department of Education and students are unable to make corrections at this time. If you need to correct a submitted FAFSA, we encourage you to keep checking back to studentaid.gov.

We've Updated Our Priority Filing Date

Students who file their 2024-2025 FAFSA by our priority date may be eligible for additional institutional grant funding. 

All Students (Current & New Fall 2024 Students): May 1st

The formula to determine a student's eligibility for need-based financial aid has been reconfigured and renamed. Beginning in 2024-2025, students will be assigned a Student Aid Index (SAI) number based on the information on their FAFSA. 

The SAI is a true index number, not a dollar amount like the Expected Family Contribution was assumed to be, and can be as low as -1500. Our office will use a student's SAI to build a student's financial aid offer.

Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant will now be based on a student's/contributor's adjusted gross income, federal poverty guidelines, and family size- no matter what a student's SAI is determined to be.

This update is expected to increase the number of students who are eligible for the Pell Grant and increase the total amount a student receives, but some students may be negatively impacted by the changes and could qualify for less in financial aid.

Since the FAFSA now contains Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred directly from the IRS, there are new and additional data-sharing policies in place to safeguard a student and their contributor(s) federal tax information. 

These new rules will even limit access to FAFSA-specific information for some personnel within the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid.

Dependent students, whose parents are separated or divorced, will see a change in how they determine which parent needs to be a contributor on the FAFSA.

In past years, the FAFSA parent was the parent they lived with most in the past 12 months. From now on, the parent, or contributor, on the FAFSA will be the parent who provided the most financial support for the student in the last 12 months, no matter which parent they lived with.

In general, students are not able to appeal this determination, however, students who are experiencing unusual circumstances or experiencing homelessness may qualify to file under a provisional independent status (more information below). 

Students whose parents refuse to provide consent will be able to complete a Parental Data Override Form. In this case, students will only be eligible to receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and will forfeit all other types of financial aid (such as the Federal Pell Grant, Arizona Promise Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, etc). 

A new term is coming to the 2024-2025 FAFSA - “contributor”. A contributor is anyone who is required to provide information, a signature, and consent to have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred directly into the FAFSA. This may include the student’s biological or adoptive parents, a step-parent, or a student’s spouse.

The new FAFSA is role-driven, which means the answers provided by the student will determine who is a contributor. 

Contributors will each log in to the FAFSA separately with their own FSA ID account. Then, they will complete their own section and answer questions that only they can view. All contributors must provide their financial information and will be required to sign the FAFSA.

In order to be eligible for federal student aid, students and contributors must provide consent to have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred directly into the FAFSA from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Providing consent even applies to contributors who don't have a Social Security Number, didn't file 2022 taxes, or who filed taxes outside the US.

Tax data will be automatically transferred directly from the IRS into your application, streamlining the process and reducing the number of questions you’ll be required to answer. Please be aware that you, and your FAFSA contributors, will not have the ability to see or modify the FTI when completing the FAFSA online. 

The student and all contributors must provide this consent and approval on the FAFSA in order to be eligible for federal student aid.

Instead of manually entering the number of individuals in the household for the upcoming academic year, the number of people in the student's/parent’s household will align with the number of dependents listed on the student's/parent(s)’ U.S. tax return. If this number changes after filing the tax return, an update can be made directly on the FAFSA. 

Note that students and their contributors will not have the ability to see the family size as it is part of FTI that transfers from the IRS, nor will it appear on their FAFSA Submission Summary. OSFA staff will also not be able to review the protected FTI that transfers. If students or parents have questions about their data, please encourage the student to refer directly to their tax forms or speak with their tax professional.  

Students will still be required to report the number of family members in college, however, it won’t have the same impact on their financial aid eligibility, as it had in the past. Therefore students with siblings in college may see a change in their eligibility for federal aid as compared to prior years.

Please be aware that there may be options for students to report costs associated with the additional family members enrolled in college. More information about this and other appeals to come. 

Questions on the FAFSA will allow a student to directly disclose if they are experiencing:

  • an unusual circumstances or
  • homelessness or risk of homelessness

Examples of an unusual circumstance include if a student:

  • has left home due to an abusive or threatening environment;
  • have been abandoned by or estranged from their parents;
  • has refugee or asylee status and are separated from their parents, or their parents are displaced in a foreign country;
  • is a victim of human trafficking;
  • is incarcerated, or their parents are incarcerated and contact with the parents would pose a risk to the student; or
  • is otherwise unable to contact or locate their parents.

For students in any of the situations listed above, their FAFSA can be processed with a provisional independent status.

This status allows for their eligibility for financial aid, including the Federal Pell Grant, to be determined upfront. OSFA will then follow up with the student to submit additional documentation and complete the processing of their financial aid offer.

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) has done some preliminary calculations to determine what kind of impact these changes will have on students. 

Based on the new SAI formula, as compared to the past EFC formula, SHEEO expects:

  • 74.1% of dependent students will have a lower SAI than their past year's EFC, potentially increasing a student's eligibility for financial aid
  • 17.7% of dependent students are expected to experience an increase in their SAI, as compared to their past year's EFC
  • 8.2% of dependent students are expected to have an SAI that is equal to a past year's EFC

Based on the new eligibility criteria for the Federal Pell Grant, SHEEO expects:

  • 35.2% of dependent students will see an increase in the amount of Pell Grant they receive
  • 6.8% of dependent students, who were not eligible in the past year, are expected to gain eligibility for the Pell Grant
  • 1.1% of dependent students may lose their eligibility for the Pell Grant as compared to last year
  • 62.8% of dependent students are expected to keep their eligibility for the Pell Grant from last year to next year

The projections for independent students paint a similar picture. SHEEO expects:

  • 77.4% of independent students will have a lower SAI than their past year's EFC, potentially increasing a student's eligibility for financial aid
  • 2.9% of independent students are expected to experience an increase in their SAI, as compared to their past year's EFC
  • 30.2% of independent students will see an increase in the amount of Pell Grant they receive
  • 69.2% of independent students are expected to keep their eligibility for the Pell Grant from last year to next year

Our internal projections show similar trends for Arizona students, though some components are not able to be included in our calculations (such as if a student needs to include a different contributor than last year).

In general, we anticipate the simplification of the FAFSA form and the new eligibility guidelines for the Federal Pell Grant are beneficial for a large portion of our students. OSFA is committed to working with and assisting those students who are negatively impacted by the changes and will do our best to utilize our professional judgment to make adjustments when allowable by law.

The update to the 2024-2025 FAFSA required an overhaul of many pieces of the FAFSA. 

For a complete list of known issues, including potential workarounds, please refer to the 2024-25 FAFSA Issue Alerts page. This page will be updated regularly by the Department of Education.

At this time, here are some of the errors and issues that the Department of Education is working to resolve:

Errors for Students:

  • A student who indicates they do not have a social security number is unable to continue or start a new form after they exited before the “State or legal residence” question.
  • A student is unable to proceed past the first student identity section when the mailing address section is blank.
  • Graduate students, who are not Pell-eligible, are being told they are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant via FAFSA Submission Summary.

Errors for Contributors (parent/spouse):

  • A student’s or contributor’s (parent/spouse) signature is removed after they return to a saved FAFSA form.
  • Parent/Contributor without a social security number will need to manually enter in tax/financial information.

We know the updates to the FAFSA have presented some challenges for not only our students and supporters but also our partners, like yourselves, who work directly with students. If students are unable to submit their FAFSA due to one of these issues, we encourage users to continue returning to their application on studentaid.gov periodically to watch for updates or contact Federal Student Aid directly.

Getting Students the Help They Need

We have a variety of ways for students to meet with us to get answers to their FAFSA-related questions.

Attend a Workshop

Our workshops will give participants a broad overview of what to expect when filing the FAFSA, cover common mistakes and best practices and review what is new on the 2024-2025 FAFSA.

These workshops are open to the public. Register for a workshop in either English or Spanish from our Events page.

Drop in for help through Zoom

Students can meet one one one with a member of our AskAid team who will be available to answer questions in either English or Spanish on a first come, first served basis. 

Join us at the link below on Thursday afternoons between 2:00 - 4:00 pm.

Meet With Our Team

Students can call, email or meet with us in person during our normal business hours.

View Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled the questions we are hearing from students about the 2024-2025 FAFSA in one central place. 

Financial Aid Offer Timelines

The delayed opening and changes will also impact when financial aid offers will be available for the 2024-2025 academic year. We expect this to affect financial offices nationwide, as student FAFSA data will not be available to schools until late January or early February. 

While we are doing our best to prepare for 2024-2025, we must also manage the needs of our current students. During January and early February, we will be prioritizing current students who need their financial aid for Spring 2024 to be processed. We look forward to assisting current Wildcats, incoming students, and campus partners with 2024-2025 FAFSA-related questions in early to mid-February. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Fall 2024 First-Year, Transfer, Readmit, & New Admits Began week of 4/29/24, Ongoing
Current Students Late Spring to Early Summer 2024
Graduate Students Mid to Late Summer 2024*

*This is a typical timeline for graduate students, we do not expect additional delays based on the release of the 2024-2025 FAFSA at this time.


How Can Students Prepare to File the FAFSA?

  • Ensure the student's (and their contributor's, if applicable) FSA ID is created and dual authentication is set up. It can take up to five days for a new FSA ID to process, so they'll want to set this up ahead of time. Remember, an FSA ID is required to sign and submit the FAFSA.
  • Encourage students to review who their contributor will be on your FAFSA. Depending on their family, this could be a different person than last year.
  • Track down and gather documents to refer to when completing your FAFSA:
    • Tax Returns
    • Records of child support received
    • Current balances of cash, savings and checking accounts
    • Net worth of investments, businesses and farms
  • For incoming Fall 2024 students: Encourage them to complete their University of Arizona admission application and include their social security number on their admissions application so their FAFSA can be connected later.

What is Staying the Same?

FAFSA Determines Eligibility for Financial Aid

Filing the FAFSA helps our office determine what types of financial aid students are eligible for. We consider both federal and institutional (school-based) financial aid. 

Tax Year

The FAFSA will still require tax information from the prior-prior year. For 2024-2025, it will pull in 2022 tax year information.

Dependency Status Questions

Dependency status questions that determine if your parents complete the FAFSA with you remain the same.

Additional Resources


In March, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid hosted a FAFSA Forum to help campus and community partners learn more about FAFSA Simplification. We shared important updates - including changes to the FAFSA form itself and how Federal Pell Grant eligibility is now determined. We also discussed how the rollout will impact our students and the University, and how we can work together to support our Arizona students moving forward. 

View Presentation Slides

View Recording

College Knowledge for Counselors Presentation

In November 2023, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid presented FAFSA Simplification Updates at College Knowledge for Counselors. View the slide deck for detailed information.

View Presentation Slides

ABOR FAFSA Counselor Trainings

As part of the Arizona FAFSA Challenge, the Arizona Board of Regents hosted FAFSA informational webinars for school leaders. Access recordings and presentation materials from Fall 2023.

View Recordings