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FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2024-25 academic year will open in December 2023. With the delay in the FAFSA, many exciting updates are being implemented to improve and streamline your financial aid process.

The FAFSA Simplification Act passed on Dec. 27, 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and represents a significant overhaul of federal student aid, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, need analysis, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in the Title IV programs. 

Want more information?

You can watch a recorded session on FAFSA Simplification.

Key changes

  • The 2024-25 FAFSA will open in December 2023 instead of October 1. However, for 2025-26 and beyond, we will return to the October 1 open date.
  • Streamlined and more user-friendly FAFSA now with fewer questions. Going from over 100 questions down to just 36!
  • Expanded aid eligibility due to larger income protection allowances.
  • IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) makes entering tax information easier and will require students, spouses, and parents to transfer their 2022 tax information or non-filing status.
  • Number in college will no longer factor into the FAFSA calculation (although it is still asked).
  • Untaxed items such as payments to tax-deferred retirement or pension plans, veteran’s non-educational benefits, and worker’s compensation will no longer be required.
  • Parent assets will now include all businesses' net worth and a family farm's net worth, if applicable.
  • Divorced or separated parent changes – the parent who provided the most financial support to the student will need to provide their information. Previously, the parent whom the student lived with the most provided their information.

Terms to know

  • FAFSA data calculate Student Aid Index (SAI) and will determine eligibility for student aid. This replaces the EFC that was used in previous years.
  • Contributor: a parent, step-parent, student, or spouse of the student providing information to the FAFSA. 
  • Consent: required from all contributors for the IRS to share tax data directly to the FAFSA. Not providing consent will automatically make the student ineligible for aid.
  • Direct Data Exchange (DDX): previously known as IRS Data Retrieval, this tool imports tax data directly from the IRS to your FAFSA.
  • FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS): a summary of your completed FAFSA information. This replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR) that was used in previous years.

Ways to prepare

  • FSA ID
    A Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID is required for all contributors, including the student. Apply for your FSA ID now!
  • Determine your contributors, if applicable. The FAFSA will also offer assistance when filing.
    The student is a contributor. A contributor may also be a:
    • Parent
    • Step-parent
    • Spouse of student
  • 2022 Federal Tax Information and W-2s
    All contributors will need this information, if applicable
  • CMU Federal School Code: 002243


  • When will the 2024-25 FAFSA become available?
    The US Department of Education has not determined an exact date but announced that it will become available sometime in December 2023. Don't worry; we will email you when it becomes available!
  • What semesters are covered by my 2024-25 FAFSA?
    Fall 2024, Spring 2025 and Summer 2025
  • When is the priority 2024-25 FAFSA filing deadline for CMU?
    May 1, 2024
  • Is a contributor required to have an FSA ID?
    Yes, all contributors must have an FSA ID. 
  • My parents are divorced or separated. Which parent is a contributor for my FAFSA?
    The parent who provides the most financial support to the student should be the contributor on the FAFSA.
  • Do the invitations to contributors to provide federal tax information and consent expire?
    Yes. Invitations to be contributors will be deleted when they have been inactive for 45 days. Any previously entered information will be deleted and the process must start over.
  • How can I be considered an independent student?
    An independent student is one of the following: born before Jan. 1, 2001, married (and not separated), a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, a person with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor, a person who is unaccompanied and homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

The CMU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is working to provide accurate and timely updates related to the 2024-25 FAFSA. Due to the significant changes occurring, our website may change as updates are received from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid for the 2024-2025 academic year. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.

FAFSA Simplification presentation