DES MOINES, Iowa — The 2024-2025 FAFSA Application will not be available on October 1st, like it has in the past, as changes to the process are made under the FAFSA Simplification Act.
The Act was passed in 2021 with the goal of simplifying the college financial aid process. Over the last three years, the Department of Education implemented changes in different phases.
Now, one of the last phases of change includes changes to the 2024-2025 FAFSA Application.
The date for when this application will come out has not yet been released, but Drake University’s Director of Financial Aid, Ryan Zantingh, said that it’s projected to become available in December.
“The income questions, not everyone has the skills of an accountant to be able to enter all that information accurately. So, the hope is that this makes things easier and quicker for parents and students to complete the FAFSA, and also more accurate. So, less paperwork to send to schools later on to verify certain elements of their FAFSA,” said Zantingh.
Some changes include updating how a student’s family size is determined. It will align more with what’s reported on the tax returns of the student and or parent. They are also expanding access to Federal Pell Grants.
In Iowa, plenty of students fill out the FAFSA application every year. At Drake University, around 80% of students complete the FAFSA. At the University of Northern Iowa, between 75% and 80% of students fill out the application. And the University of Iowa says that 85% of incoming students complete the FAFSA.
While students and families are waiting for the application to come out, there are steps that they can take ahead of time.
Zantingh advises that students and parents set up their Federal Student Aid Account ahead of time to ensure the process goes smoother in December when the application is available.
Federal Student Aid is updating its Financial Aid Estimator so families can go online to determine what their estimated Student Aid Index could be.