February 1, 2024

On January 30th, the U.S. Department of Education announced a timeline update for the 2024-25 FAFSA. Due to the Department of Education failing to update some numbers in the FAFSA formula and making corrections late, all FAFSAs that have been submitted are in a holding period until this correction is made. Unfortunately, this particular fix will take time.

How does that affect you, the families? This means that the government will not be releasing any FAFSA data to higher education institutions until the middle of March, at the earliest. Additionally, we are aware of the other hiccups many families are experiencing daily with the updated form. You can visit the Issued Alerts page to stay on top off all reported bugs, and to see if they have been resolved. Additionally, Federal Student Aid has created a webpage with 'Pro Tips' that will help guide you through completing the 2024-25 FAFSA form.

2024-25 FAFSA Changes

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used by colleges to determine eligibility for need-based grants, loans, and Federal Work-Study. The FAFSA Simplification Act introduces several changes and enhancements to the FAFSA, which take effect with the 2024-25 FAFSA. Below is helpful information to explain the changes. 

What's new with the 2024-25 FAFSA?

Source: U.S. Department of Education

24-25 FAFSA Updates. Simplified application process; Release Date in December 2023; Use of Data exchange to get information from the IRS after providing consent; Each user is now called a Contributor and must create an FSA ID; FAFSA Results are now called the Student Aid Index (SAI) instead of the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).


The FAFSA is being redesigned starting for the 2024-25 academic year.

  • Fewer Questions: The great news is students and families submitting the FAFSA will answer far fewer questions... so it will be faster and easier to complete.
  • Easier to Complete: A lot more information will be transferred into the FAFSA directly from the IRS. There will be less searching for information when it’s time to submit your FAFSA.
  • New Look: The new FAFSA looks fundamentally different. The student or parent will start the FAFSA and complete the information needed for their section. They will then invite the other person (or persons) to complete their section of the FAFSA.​​​​​​​

Notable Changes

  • Business/Farm Value: Families must now report the value of their business and/or farm on the 2024-25 FAFSA.

  • Divorced/Separated Parents: The parent on the FAFSA is now based on the amount of financial support. Previously it was based who the student lived with most.

A Few Delays...

  • Delayed Application Start: Because of all that is involved to implement the changes to the FAFSA, there is a delay in when the 2024-25 FAFSA is available. While the FAFSA usually opens on October 1 (for instance, the 2023-24 FAFSA has been available since October 1, 2022), the 2024-25 FAFSA became available on January 1, 2024.
  • Delayed Application Processing: There will be a delay with the time it takes to process the FAFSA. The U.S. Department of Education will not begin processing 2024-25 FAFSAs until mid-March 2024. In other words, if you complete the FAFSA in early January 2024, Lawrence will likely not receive your FAFSA results until mid or late March.

Who Completes the FAFSA?

  • "Contributors"A contributor is anyone required to provide their information on the FAFSA (in addition to the student, other contributors can be a parent, stepparent, or student’s spouse). Contributors will receive an email inviting them to login using their own FSA ID and to provide the required information. Every contributor must provide consent to retrieve their federal tax information from the IRS in order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid.
  • Divorced or Separated Parent: Starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA, if a student’s biological/adoptive parents are divorced or separated, the parent who provides the most financial support to the student in the prior 12 months will be the parent on the FAFSA, even if the student does not live with that parent. If that parent on the FAFSA is married/remarried, step-parent's information will be required as well.
  • FSA IDEvery contributor will need an Federal Student Aid ID (or FSA ID). 
    • If you already have a FSA ID (great!), it will be used to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA.
    • If the student and/or parent(s) do not have a FSA ID, we encourage you to obtain one today! You do not need to wait for the 2024-25 FAFSA to be available. Learn more about how to create the FSA ID here. Note: It is a known issue of the new FAFSA that parents without SSNs are currently experiencing difficulty creating accounts, and even if account creation is possible, they cannot be added to a FAFSA or contribute. Don't worry: if there are factors preventing your family from completing the FAFSA at this time, you will have full consideration for financial aid from Lawrence University.

How does this impact financial aid at Lawrence?

  • Lawrence uses "institutional analysis": Lawrence collects information reported on the FAFSA, but also uses a different method of determining need (called "institutional need analysis"). As part of this review, Lawrence will continue to consider the number of dependents enrolled in college. This is not a new process for Lawrence; as a leader and innovative institution, we have used institutional need analysis for over 20 years. 
  • Prospective Students:  Until FAFSA Information is available to colleges, Lawrence will provide a financial aid estimate to prospective students if they complete the College Board's CSS Profile. More information is available here.  
  • Current Students: The priority date to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA for students currently enrolled at Lawrence is April 1. 

Key Terminology

New Term Previous Term Definition
Student Aid Index (SAI) Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Calculated from the FAFSA data and used to determine student aid eligibility.
Direct Data Exchange (DDX) IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Process of using IRS data to complete the FAFSA.
FAFSA Submission Summary Student Aid Report (SAR) Results of the FAFSA; a document that provides a summary of the data reported on the FAFSA.
Consent Required from each contributor in order for IRS tax data to be used when completing the FAFSA.
Contributor Anyone who is required to provide information on the FAFSA (e.g. student, parent, step-parent)
Federal Tax Information (FTI) Contributor's federal tax data on the FAFSA that comes directly from the IRS.

Students and Contributors create your FSA ID(s) on the Federal Student Aid site.

The 2024-25 FAFSA is now available!