Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced recently that the 2024-25 New Better Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form officially opens in December 2023.
The New Better FAFSA incorporates the first changes to the application that haven’t been made since the FAFSA originally went from paper to online in 1997. The December 2023 opening is three months later than the usual October 1, start date, and scheduled to be a one-time only change. The FAFSA changes were passed in 2020 with bipartisan support. According to LEAP partner, NCAN, this agreement is the big win they have been pursuing in FAFSA simplification for several years.
“Each year, students leave $2.5-3 billion on the table by not completing the FAFSA. These changes, building upon last year’s FUTURE Act, will make it easier for students to complete the complicated federal aid application and qualify for the aid for which they are eligible,” says NCAN executive director Kim Cook. “Easing access to federal student aid is a step toward a more equitable higher education system, especially for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.”
According to the National College Attainment Network (NCAN), by reducing the number of questions students and parents must answer and other changes, the revised FAFSA promises to decrease application completion times, increase the number of applicants and the proportion of complete applications, increase the number of students receiving Pell Grants, and increase available time that students, parents, school counselors, and college access and success advisors can spend on other important aspects of postsecondary planning and enrollment.