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2024-2025 FAFSA® Changes

The FAFSA Simplification Act  was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid.
The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ® ) includes unprecedented changes to how students and families apply for federal student aid and how we determine eligibility, giving students a better and simpler experience with the FAFSA form.

The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ®) will become available December 31, 2023.

What’s changing with the FAFSA?

There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA Simplification Act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).

Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:

  • The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly.

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. Since the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students will not even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

  • Students may list up to 20 colleges.

Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.

  • The FAFSA will be available in more languages.

Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-2025 application will be expanded to include 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

  • Applicants will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange.

Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-2025, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

According to the FAFSA Simplification Act, all students and contributors must provide consent to the following:

  1. Have their federal tax information transferred directly into the FAFSA® form via direct data exchange with the IRS;
  2. Have their federal tax information used to determine the student’s eligibility for federal student aid; and
  3. Allow the U.S. Department of Education to share its federal tax information with post-secondary institutions and state higher education agencies for use in awarding and administering financial aid.


  • Even if students or contributors don’t have a Social Security number, didn’t file taxes, or filed taxes outside of the U.S., they still need to provide consent.
  • If a student or required contributor doesn’t provide consent to have their federal tax information transferred into the FAFSA® form, the student will not be eligible for federal student aid- even if they manually enter tax information into the FAFSA® form.
  • All “contributors” must provide financial information.

A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-2025 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.

The student will need their contributor’s name, date or birth, social security number (SSN), and email address in order to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA. The contributors will also need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.

All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their Federal Tax Information transferred from the IRS to be used by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to use their information to determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. Consent is provided once for the award year and cannot be revoked. The consent is necessary, even if the contributor does not have an SSN, did not file taxes, or filed taxes in another country.

Contributors will receive an email informing them that they have been identified as such and will need to log in using their own FSA ID to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.

If a dependent student’s parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will be contributors. They need to have separate FSA IDs and both need to provide consent.

Dependent students whose parents filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly only require one parent contributor to complete their FAFSA.
If a student’s parents filed separately, both parents will be considered contributors and therefore need separate FSA IDs, and both must provide consent.
If an independent student is married and filed separately, both individuals are contributors, must have FSA IDs, and must provide consent for the student to be eligible for Title IV aid.

Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete, and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

  • Parents without a social security number need to get an FSA ID.

Starting 2024-2025, parents and/or spouses who are not U.S. Citizens or Eligible Noncitizens can use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to create an FSA ID. If they do not have an ITIN, they will indicate this on the FSA ID creation page and alternative identity information will be presented to them.

  • Parents who do not reside in the United States.

For dependent students, parents’ citizenship status doesn’t affect their eligibility for federal aid. They cannot create an FSA ID, but the student can complete the FAFSA on paper and ask for their parent signatures. For FAFSA purposes, dependent students’ parents’ income must be provided, no matter where they reside.

  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution.

A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

  • The number in college will not be used to calculate SAI.

Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility.
Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI.

  • Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell grant.

Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the Federal Poverty Level  will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant Award.
Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure.
Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

  • Pell Grants will no longer be awarded per enrollment category.

Pell Grants will now be awarded per amount of credits (refer to the diagram below).

Credit Hours Enrollment Category
Enrollment Intensity
12 (or more) Full-Time 100%
10 Three-Quarter Time 92%
9 83%
8 75%
8 Half-Time 92%
7 83%
6 75%
5 Less-than-Half-Time 42%
4 33%
3 25%
2 17%
1 8%
  • The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.

For dependent students , financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months.
With the new 2024-205 FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

  • Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.

When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

Reference Materials: Links and Videos

FAFSA® Reminder: Complete your FAFSA® Form

The process for obtaining financial aid requires multiple steps.

To apply for financial aid for college, use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.

The Office of Financial Aid within the Student Services Division and seeks to provide high quality service that consistently exceeds the expectations of students and families.

Our primary objective is to assist students in planning for and meeting expenses associated with attendance. We focus on establishing aid eligibility, awarding grants, loans, and employment and providing financial aid counseling for the resolution of problems associated with financing an education.

  • We serve as the primary advocate for students, assisting them in securing necessary financial resources.
  • We are committed to providing exemplary service to our students, the College community, and the community at large.
  • We believe our talented staff will make the difference and help us realize our vision.

Contact Information

Phone: (201) 447-7148

Pitkin Education Building
One-Stop Center
400 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ 07652

It is critical that students educate themselves about the process and their responsibilities as a recipient of financial aid, that they understand the types of aid they are receiving, and that they remain in contact with the office throughout their studies at Bergen Community College.

Special Circumstances

If you or your family’s financial situation has changed due to loss of job or benefits, separation or divorce, death or other special circumstances, we encourage you to submit the Special Circumstance Form to our office with the required documentation to have your financial aid eligibility re-evaluated.

Items families will need to provide will vary but, in general, for a student’s file to be re-evaluated for Special Circumstances the following must be provided to the Financial Aid Office:

Note: Be advised that the submission of an appeal does NOT guarantee an adjustment to the student’s award.