The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)

Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act to make the FAFSA application process easier for students and families. The FAFSA Simplification Act makes several changes to the application and calculation of financial aid eligibility starting with the 2024-25 academic year.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now available and should be completed as soon as possible. The UMass Lowell priority filing deadline is March 1.

The UMass Lowell Financial Aid office has developed a document to help navigate financial aid changes for 2024-2025 (pdf).

Incoming students concerned about how the new FAFSA and FAFSA processing will impact their financial aid can read through a list of frequently asked questions below.

If students and families need help completing the new FAFSA, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority and the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) will be hosting multiple events to assist; visit the FAFSA Day Massachusetts website for more information.

Notable Changes

FAFSA Simplification Overview

  • The new FAFSA will be easier to complete with a reduced number of questions.
  • New terminology: The term contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide information on the student’s FAFSA form. Contributors include the student, student’s spouse, student's biological, step, or adoptive parents(s). Students will need contributor’s name, social security number, date of birth, and email address to invite them to complete their portions of the FAFSA.
  • All FAFSA contributors must consent to have their tax data transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA.
  • If the student’s parents are divorced or separated, the student should report the parent income of the parent (and spouse, if remarried) who provides the most financial support, not necessarily the parent the student lived with.

What is the Direct Data Exchange?

  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI) used to determine financial need and aid eligibility. While in some cases the new SAI federal calculation could increase students’ financial aid eligibility, others may see a decrease in aid.
  • The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA but will no longer be considered in the SAI calculation. The EFC did provide a benefit for those with multiple children in college.
  • The value of small farms or businesses will no longer be excluded from assets in the SAI calculation.

This list of changes described is not exhaustive. Please check back often as more guidance becomes available.

Incoming Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

faqYou have questions about Financial Aid, we’re here to help answer them. We understand how important financial aid is in college planning, and we want you to know that supporting you and your family is our top priority. The entire UMass Lowell team is doing everything we can to process financial aid awards as quickly as possible once we begin receiving FAFSA information.

Does depositing before I receive my financial aid award affect the amount of aid I will receive?

Absolutely not! We are excited for you to deposit and become a River Hawk. When determining need based financial aid, your eligibility will be based on your FAFSA information, not your deposit status.

Do I have to fill out the FAFSA if I do not want to?

You are not required to complete the FAFSA, however if you are the recipient of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship or the Koplik Scholarship, the state of Massachusetts requires you to have a FAFSA on file each year to receive these awards. Generally it is always a good idea to file the FAFSA if you are eligible to do so in case scholarship opportunities arise that require you to have one on file. The new FAFSA is much easier and faster so families find they can complete it with little difficulty.

What is the priority deadline for filling out the FAFSA?

UMass Lowell's priority deadline is March 1.

This means students who meet this deadline will receive the best financial aid award available to them based on their FAFSA data. If you were not able to submit the FAFSA by March 1 you will still receive consideration for financial aid. Students who submit after the deadline will be reviewed for aid based on funding available at that time their FAFSA data was received.

It is important to note, due to the new FAFSA process there are many students who cannot submit their FAFSA because of system errors at the Department of Education. We are aware of these issue. If a student files after March 1 due to a known FAFSA processing issue, UML will not penalize for the missed deadline, however we encourage students to complete their FAFSA as soon as the Department of Education resolves the system issue affecting them.

How do I know you received my FAFSA?

UMass Lowell has started to receive some student FAFSA records, however, we are still currently unable to determine eligibility for aid. We will continue to be diligent to progress students through the process as quickly as we are able. It is our understanding that once data is sent to schools you will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary detailing your Student Aid Index (SAI) and indicating the schools in which your data was sent to. The Department of Education has issued guidance that students can start making corrections to their FAFSA sometime during the week of April 15, 2024.

When will we hear about our financial aid awards?

We plan to begin sending financial aid notifications at the beginning of May. However, these dates are subject to change as we receive new information from our software providers and the Department of Education.

What types of financial aid are available?

Your financial aid award may consist of a combination of grants, work-study, and loans from a variety of funding sources. Sources include the federal government, state, and UMass Lowell. In a change from prior years, the 2024-2025 FAFSA no longer asks about student interest in Federal Work Study so students will automatically be considered based on their SAI.

Can you use my Student Aid Index (SAI) or the CSS Profile Form to estimate what our award will be?

Unfortunately, UMass Lowell (UML) is not able to provide estimated awards. If you received your SAI after you completed the FAFSA, the federal website should have indicated whether or not you may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and federal student loan. UML does not accept the CSS Profile Form.

Will my merit scholarship impact my need-based financial aid award?

Colleges determine your need-based financial aid eligibility by subtracting your Student Aid Index (SAI) from the Cost of Attendance (COA). Any scholarship a student receives towards their education costs are part of this calculation, and will be considered when determining need based financial aid eligibility.

My family’s financial circumstances recently changed. How do I inform you about the change?

Your financial aid eligibility will be based on your family’s 2022 income as reported on the FAFSA. If your family will have a decrease in their 2024 income you may be eligible to submit an appeal. For more information on financial aid appeals, please visit our Special Circumstances page.