Financial Aid

2024-2025 FAFSA

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-Whitewater, the 2024-2025 FAFSA covers fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025.

2024-2025 FAFSA is available 

Due to the breadth of changes (addressed below) being implemented, the 2024-2025 FAFSA was delayed by the U.S. Department of Education from the usual October 1 release date to the end of December 2023.

If you have not submitted a 2024-2025 FAFSA yet, please submit it now. Click here to access the application: 2024-2025 FAFSA

Recent updates:

  • The U.S. Department of Education is compiling a list of known issues that are preventing some families from completing the 2024-2025 FAFSA. If you encounter any problems, please check their website as some issues have workarounds while others do not.

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 Exchange (DDX) to share income and tax information or 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.

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.
  • Parents Without a Social Security Number (SSN): A parent without an SSN will need to obtain an FSA ID in order to sign and submit the FAFSA. Previously, a parent without an SSN would enter all zeros in the SSN field and was required to submit a paper signature page. Steps for getting an FSA ID for those without an SSN and Steps for getting an FSA ID for those without an SSN (in Spanish).
  • 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. The 2024-2025 FAFSA will still ask how many household members are in college, however your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. Consequently, current students with siblings in college most likely will see a change 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.
  • Automatic Pell Grants based on income and household size: The FAFSA Simplification Act extends the Federal Pell Grant to more students and links eligibility to family size and the federal poverty level. 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.

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.
  • Undergraduate admission applications for 2024-2025 should be completed by January 1, 2024 for UW-W scholarship consideration.
  • It is recommended the 2024-2025 FAFSA be filed by the priority date of April 1, 2024.
  • With the 2025-2026 FAFSA, the FAFSA is again expected to be available beginning October 1 of each year.

It's important to complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA as soon as it's available in December 2023: 

New Undergraduate Students (Freshmen and Transfers)

New undergraduate students for 2024-2025 should continue to prioritize completion of their UW-W admission application by January 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-W. The delay of FAFSA availability until December does slightly shorten the window for applying for aid, and UW-W 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 it is available. While some students will receive more need-based aid through the new SAI calculations, others may receive less. You will want to know your aid eligibility sooner than later to make financial plans for continuing your education. Awards for returning students with FAFSAs will occur in spring 2024 to assist in your financial planning.

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.


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University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
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800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190

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