Skip to main content

Behind the Scenes of the 2024-2025 FAFSA Updates

good news bad news written on sticky notes
Jess Mosley College Coach

Written by Jess Mosleyon June 12th, 2024

Prior to working at College Coach, I worked in financial aid at selective private colleges, where I developed my expert knowledge of institutional financial aid methodology and needs analysis that these types of institutions use to determine a student’s financial need. These positions allowed me to manage a variety of financial aid programming, including Financial Wellness, Loan Repayment Education, Federal Work Study, and Study Abroad. I’ve worked closely with student groups that support first generation and low-income backgrounds, acting as a liaison to college leadership to support student needs and remove barriers to aid and information for students of all backgrounds. Within the Oregon Association of Financial Aid Administrators, I spent many years leading the state conference, planning and designing educational programming for financial aid professionals. I have also volunteered as a presenter at many local high schools and on my college campuses, and assisted individual families through the aid process and FAFSA nights.
Learn More About Jess
Whether or not you’re thinking about financial aid for college, it’s likely in the past year you’ve heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) due to the tumultuous rollout of the 2024-2025 FAFSA Form and the FAFSA Simplification Act. The Good There was a major reduction to the total questions on the form and changes to how federal aid eligibility is calculated. Now that the federal tax data is being pulled into the FAFSA from the IRS website, there are far fewer questions. For the majority of FAFSA completers, the user experience is more streamlined thanks to the application update. The application has a new visual look, and includes lots of short, optional videos to help those completing the application, understand how the process works and what to expect. While these changes will ultimately be net positives moving forward, it’s the rollout of the application in the past year that damaged the reputation of Federal Student Aid. The Not as Good One major change that has caused headaches is that students and their contributors (parents or spouse) must now independently log into the form, rather than use a single sign in for the student. While this makes sense for security, privacy, and those contributors who can’t be with the student during completion, it has created user errors for many applicants and delayed the processing of the applications. For example, when a student is completing their section of the form, if a parent contributor is required, the student must enter the parent’s legal name, date of birth, social security number, and email address. As one might imagine quite a few students made an error on at least one of these items if they were completing the form without a parent present. their parent wasn’t in the room while they completed the form. It’s also required now that parents who file their taxes separately must both complete a section as a contributor. These are just two of many examples of how applicants were tripped up during completing the form this season. The application release date, usually October 1, was delayed several times. It usually takes 3-5 days for a FAFSA to be processed and sent to the schools the student has listed. Once processed, the applicant can review and make any needed corrections. The ability to make corrections wasn’t available until mid-April, which further delayed processing. Schools began receiving some of the processed applications at the end of March, and it was reported that about 20% of those may have had data errors in the data pulled from the IRS. In late April, schools began to issue financial aid packages, but many face issues in processing the data and still have not sent out financial aid packages to their admitted students. This has delayed student enrollment confirmation for many students and has disproportionately affected students from lower income backgrounds who rely more on federal aid to make financial ends meet prior to choosing a school. Many schools moved their deadlines for enrollment deposit, but unfortunately for students and families, there was no consensus among schools for one delayed decision date, adding to the overall confusion. Looking Ahead to the 2025-2026 FAFSA In a typical cycle, the FAFSA is available on October 1. So far, the Department of Education will not guarantee the release on that date, only that an October 1 release date is the expectation. Stay tuned to this blog for breaking news and updates on the upcoming FAFSA.

Meet our team of college finance experts, former financial aid officers who know the ins and outs of college financing.


Interested in learning more about how our college admissions counseling services can help your student succeed?

Call 877-402-6224 or complete the form for information on getting your student started with one of our experts.

Inclusion Matters Here Pride Flag