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

Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act in effort 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.

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.