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What you need to know about the 2024-2025 FAFSA

The 2024-25 FAFSA Application is available

      While we know that universities will not begin to receive FAFSA information until mid-March, UW-Eau Claire has updated our Net Price Calculator to help students and families get an estimate of their financial aid offer.  

Significant Changes Coming to the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a major overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Starting with the 2024–2025 award year, the FAFSA will be revamped and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal financial aid programs will change. At UW-Eau Claire, the 2024-2025 FAFSA covers fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025.

Known Issues

The U.S Department of Education is compiling a list of known issues that is preventing some families from completing the 2024-25 FAFSA application.  If you encounter any problems, please check their website as some issues have workarounds while others do not.   

Update on FSA ID:

All those reporting income and tax data on the FAFSA will need to have an FSA ID if they don't have one already. FAFSA contributors include the student, student spouse (if the student is married), parent, and other parent (if the parent reported on the FAFSA is married). If married individuals filed their taxes separately, both spouses will need to obtain an FSA ID. If your parents are divorced and you are unsure which parent is a contributor for FAFSA purposes please review this helpful handout.

New for 2024-25, parents without a social security number will need to obtain an FSA ID in order to sign and submit the FAFSA. Previously, a parent without a social security number would enter all zero's in the SSN field and was required to submit a paper signature page. 

Currently, there is a technical glitch preventing eligible students from submitting the online FAFSA if their parent, spouse, or other required contributor doesn’t have a Social Security Number (SSN). The Department of Education will provide a fix to the online FAFSA form for this issue in the first half of March. In the meantime, we suggest that all required contributors obtain an FSA ID now so the FAFSA can be submitted once the issue is resolved.

 

2024-2025 FAFSA Changes for all applicants

Changes all applicants will experience with the 2024-2025 FAFSA: 

  • Simplification: The maximum number of questions will be reduced from 108 to 46 for most students. Depending on their circumstances, some students will need to answer even fewer questions due to the dynamic skip logic built into the application. Additionally, providing income and tax information will be expedited under the process addressed in the next bullet. 
  • Income and Tax Data: Previously, income and tax information was provided by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer data from the IRS to the FAFSA or by entering this information manually. Beginning with 2024-2025, all persons listing tax information on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchanged (DDX) to share income and tax information or they must confirm non-filing status. 
  • FAFSA Contributors: All those reporting income and tax data on the FAFSA will need to have an FSA ID if they don't have one already. FAFSA contributors include the student, student spouse (if the student is married), parent, and other parent (if the parent reported on the FAFSA is married). If married individuals filed their taxes separately, both spouses will need to obtain an FSA ID
  • Student Aid Index (SAI): The FAFSA previously calculated an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Now the FAFSA will produce the Student Aid Index (SAI), which is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. The SAI, unlike the EFC, can be negative with the minimum SAI being -1500. 
  • Housing: Students will no longer provide their housing plans on the FAFSA (on campus, off campus or with parent) which can impact a student's financial aid offer. UWEC will make the assumption that first and second year students will live on campus while third year+ students will live off campus.  
2024-2025 FAFSA Changes for some applicants

Additional changes that will affect some applicants: 

  • Divorced or Separated Parent Information on the FAFSA: In prior years if the student's parents were divorced or separated, the student was instructed to include on the FAFSA the parental data of the parent with whom they lived the most in the previous 12 months. Starting with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the student will need to include the parental data of the parent who provided the most financial support in the previous 12 months. If this parent has remarried, both the parent and stepparent's information is required. If both biological parents provide equal support, the student is then instructed to include the parental data of the parent who earned more. Federal Student Aid has created an infographic to help make this determination. 
  • Number of Students in College No Longer Factored: The FAFSA previously prorated the EFC based on the number of household members that were in college. However, the SAI will not use the number in college as a factor in calculating aid eligibility. Consequently, current students with siblings in college may see a change/reduction in their need-based aid eligibility under the 2024-2025 FAFSA. 
  • Inclusion of family farms and small businesses: In past years, the value of a family farm or a small business with fewer than 100 employees was not reported. Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the net worth of each will be part of the FAFSA calculation.
What is Not Changing?

While the 2024-2025 FAFSA is being revamped and aid eligibility calculation revised, a number of aid-related matters will not change: 

  • The FAFSA will continue to be required for federal aid consideration, will be used for state and institutional need-based aid determination, and remains an annual application that continuing students will need to complete each year. 
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parents must provide information on your FAFSA remain the same. 
  • The FAFSA will request tax information from the prior-prior tax year. Families with significant reductions in income levels can review the special circumstances process
  • Degree-seeking students will be eligible for federal student loans assuming they complete the FAFSA, have not reached annual or aggregate limits, are enrolled at least half-time, and are not in default on previous federal student loans. 
  • Scholarship applications for 2024-2025 should be completed by February 1, 2024 for UW-Eau Claire scholarship consideration. 
Complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA

It's important to complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA as soon as possible: 

New Undergraduate Students (Freshmen and Transfers)

New undergraduate students for the 2024-2025 academic year should continue to prioritize completion of their UW-Eau Claire scholarship application by February 1, 2024 for scholarship consideration. 

The FAFSA remains the application for new freshmen and for transfer students to receive a financial aid offer from UW-Eau Claire. The delay of FAFSA availability until December does slightly shorten the window for applying for aid, and UW-Eau Claire will work to begin awarding aid for new students with FAFSAs on file as soon as systems are ready. Anticipated timelines in awarding will be detailed here. 

Continuing Undergraduate Students 

Returning students should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. While some students will receive more need-based aid through the new SAI calculations, others may receive less. It will be important to compare your 23-24 EFC to your 24-25 SAI as well as review your financial aid offer when it becomes available. Should you experience a significant change in financial aid eligibility, please contact Blugold Central to discuss your options.  

Graduate Students

Graduate students, because they are primarily eligible for non-need-based federal loans through FAFSA completion, will experience a simplified application process but are unlikely to see any changes in their aid eligibility. 

Note: 2024-2025 FAFSA changes are being implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. Information on this webpage is subject to change as new information becomes available. 

Tentative Timeline for Families

November 2023

  • Contributors (students and applicable parent(s)/step-parent(s)) can create their FSA ID. 

December 2023/January/February 2024 

  • The Department of Education soft launched the 2024-25 FAFSA application on December 31, 2023.
  • Complete the application as soon as possible. 
  • Be sure to include the UWEC Federal School Code on the application: 003917

March/April/May 2024

  • The Department of Education will begin to release FAFSA applications to colleges and universities. 
  • If additional information is required (i.e. application is selected for verification, citizenship mismatch, etc.) students will be notified by the schools listed on their FAFSA and work directly with them to resolve any conflicts.
  • If necessary, students and contributors (parents) will be able to make corrections to their submitted FAFSA (ex: a student needs to add a school to their FAFSA).
  • Newly admitted students: UWEC will begin to send financial aid offers to students who have paid their deposit and estimated aid offers to those who have not paid their deposit. 

June 2024

  • Returning students: UWEC will begin to create financial aid offers. This follows our normal timeline. 
  • Returning students: Students should compare their 2024-2025 financial aid offer and compare it with their 2023-2024 aid offer and are encouraged to contact Blugold Central with any questions or concerns they may have. 
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