FAFSA Updates for 2024-25

FAFSA Simplication

Beginning with the 2024-25 academic year, the Department of Education is implementing the FAFSA Simplification Act, which will streamline the process of applying for financial aid and expand access to federal programs such as the Pell Grant for millions of families. 

How to Apply for 2024-25 Financial Aid

The FAFSA won’t be available until December, but you can begin your application now. 

Complete the 2024-25 CSS Profile (undergraduate students only)

  • Start with the CSS Profile, available now at cssprofile.collegeboard.org.   
  • The CSS Profile helps colleges and universities determine your eligibility for institutional need-based aid.  
  • USC’s CSS School Code is 4852.

Create Your FSA ID 

Anyone reporting financial information on the FAFSA (students, parents, spouses) is required to have an individual FSA ID. If you haven’t already, be sure you and your contributors create one before the 2024-25 FAFSA becomes available.   

Students and contributors can create an FSA ID and set up their accounts on the Federal Student Aid website. 

Complete the 2024-25 FAFSA (all students)  

The 2024-25 FAFSA will be available beginning in December 2023. The exact date is still yet to be determined.    

  • USC’s Federal School Code is 001328.  
  • You will be asked to import your 2022 federal tax return information.  

What is Changing

Secure IRS Data Exchange

The redesigned Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) reduces the amount of information students and families need to enter and, whenever possible, auto-populates the form with tax return data imported securely from the IRS.   

Please note: All FAFSA contributors must consent and approve to having their federal tax information imported directly from the IRS system. Even non-tax filers and those without Social Security numbers may provide consent and approval. 

Apply to More Schools 

Students can list up to 20 schools on their FAFSA, making it easier for them to find a top-choice college that can offer the financial assistance that best meets their needs.  

Expanded Pell Grant Eligibility  

The FAFSA Simplification Act expands eligibility for Federal Pell Grants and uses family size and the federal poverty level to help determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid.   

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) versus Student Aid Index (SAI)  

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is being replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI is a figure used to help determine a student’s potential eligibility for federal subsidized aid (Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study and Subsidized Loans).  

Unlike the EFC, the SAI formula does not factor in the number of family members in college. It does not determine eligibility for institutional aid.   

The minimum SAI can be -$1,500, instead of $0. This will better assist financial aid administrators in identifying students and families with especially challenging situations. It does not increase need in a financial aid package. 

USC, however, will still use an Expected Family Contribution to determine a student’s eligibility for institutional need-based aid. The EFC is the university’s estimate of what students and parents can expect to pay out of pocket. It includes a minimum Student Contribution (SC) plus an estimated Parent Contribution (PC).   

  • Students are expected to contribute to their education through summer earnings or other savings.   
  • If the biological parents are divorced or not married, the EFC may include a noncustodial parent contribution.  

The EFC is based on:   

  • Taxed and untaxed income.  
  • Assets (liquid and illiquid).   
  • Special circumstances.   
  • Number of children in the family.  
  • Siblings pursuing full-time undergraduate studies.  
  • How close the parents are to retirement age.

Other Changes 

Custodial Parent(s) 

Custodial Parent(s) will be defined as those who provided the student with more financial support, rather than those the student lived with the most, during the past 12 months.   

Provisional Independent Status 

If an otherwise dependent student is unable to provide their parents’ information due to unusual circumstances, their FAFSA will no longer be rejected but will be processed with a provisional independent status.  

Estimate Your Federal Student Aid 

Students and families can visit the Federal Student Aid website to get an early estimate of the aid they may be eligible for.  studentaid.gov/aid-estimator