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FAFSA Simplification

What We Can Share With You

On December 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. This included the FAFSA Simplification Act which is a sweeping redesign of the systems and processes used to award federal student aid. The goal of the Simplification Act is to make it easier for students and their families to complete the FAFSA and expand eligibility to more students.

The 2024-25 FAFSA process is unique for several reasons. Due to the revamped application, you can expect the following changes:

  • The 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until January 2024.
  • The FAFSA process will be streamlined and easier for students to complete.
  • New terminology will be added to the FAFSA.
  • Expanded eligibility for federal financial aid.
  • A better user experience.

Soft Launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA Form

As of January 1, 2024, The 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is available periodically as part of our soft launch. During the soft launch, the FAFSA form will be available for short periods of time while we monitor site performance and form functionality. We will initiate pauses for site maintenance and to make technical updates as needed to provide you with a better experience.

You will have plenty of time to complete the FAFSA form. If you do submit your form during the soft launch, your information will be saved, and you won’t need to resubmit your form or any related information. If your form is unavailable when you or your family members try to access it, please try again later.

What's New



The 2024–25 FAFSA form expands eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants, and provides a streamlined user experience. 610,000 new students from low-income backgrounds will be eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants due to updates to student aid calculations. Plus, applicants will be able to skip as many as 26 questions, depending on their individual circumstances. Some applicants could answer as few as 18 questions, which could take less than 10 minutes.

What Happens After You Submit

When you submit your completed 2024–25 FAFSA form, you’ll get an email confirming that we received your form with preliminary information related to your eligibility for federal student aid. This will include your estimated Student Aid Index (SAI) and estimated eligibility for Federal Pell Grants.

The Department of Education will provide your FAFSA eligibility information to your school(s) and state in late January, so you will have ample time to fill out the form and do not need to rush to complete the form during the soft launch. Once your school(s) receive your FAFSA information, they will provide you with personalized aid information in the coming weeks. Until your school(s) and state receive your form, they won’t be able to answer questions about your aid eligibility or status.

You will receive an email when your FAFSA information has been sent to your selected schools and when you can access your FAFSA Submission Summary on StudentAid.gov. The FAFSA Submission Summary will provide your official SAI calculation and Federal Pell Grant eligibility. You can also check the status of your FAFSA form on StudentAid.gov in late January.

We will continue to update this page as additional information becomes available. This will allow you to learn more about the specific changes, timelines, and how to prepare below.

Updated Terminology & Information

Student Aid Index (SAI): Replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a formal evaluation of a student’s approximate financial resources to contribute toward their postsecondary education for a specific award year.

cost of attendance graphic

Contributor: Any individual required to provide consent and approval for federal tax information (FTI) along with their signature on the FAFSA® form, including the student; the student’s spouse; a biological or adoptive parent; or the parent’s spouse (stepparent). Contributors will be determined by a student’s dependency, marital, and tax filing status.

  • Students will provide information for FAFSA to contact other contributors.
  • Other contributors (if needed) fill FAFSA out separately and do not see student information.
  • Students do not see information from other contributors.
  • If married and filed jointly the spouse does not need to log in as a contributor.
  • If living together/married and not filed jointly, the spouse will need to be a contributor.

FAFSA Submission Summary: Replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR) as the student’s output document providing a summary of data input on the FAFSA form.

Family Size: The definition of family size has changed to align with number of individuals reported as dependents on applicant’s (if independent) or applicant’s parents’ (if dependent) U.S. tax return.

Number in College: The FAFSA will still ask for the number of family members in college, however this will not be a factor in determining aid eligibility.

How to Prepare for FAFSA

While the 2024-2025 FAFSA won’t be available until December, you can still prepare by doing the following:

  • Create an FSA ID for each contributor (student, student’s spouse (if applicable), student’s parent(s)).
  • An FSA ID is an account and password that gives contributors access to the Federal Student Aid’s online system and serves as the electronic signature.
  • Monitor your SUNY Orange email accounts for updates from the Financial Aid Office. 
    Complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens in December.

What is the FAFSA Simplification Act? | Federal Student Aid
FAFSA Simplification Fact Sheet