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The FAFSA is changing in 2024. Here’s how to prepare now.

The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is typically available on October 1. But this year, the form won’t be available until December.  

Why the delay? Big changes are coming to the FAFSA process, including a more streamlined application process and new eligibility rules.  

Here’s what you need to know and how to prepare now.  

What is the FAFSA?  

If you’re not familiar with the FAFSA, here’s the gist. The FAFSA is a form you and your family can complete annually to determine your eligibility for financial aid to fund your college education.  

By filling out the FAFSA, you can potentially qualify for grants, work-study, federal student loans, scholarships and other forms of aid. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 85% of students receive financial aid in some form (so make sure to fill out your FAFSA so you don’t miss out).  

How is FAFSA changing?  

In addition to the 2024-2025 FAFSA form being available later, there are also changes coming to the application process itself. Here are the biggest changes you’ll see when the form becomes available at the end of the year.  

  • Streamlined form – Good news: next time you fill out your FAFSA form, you’ll probably have a much easier and faster time getting it done. Instead of 108 questions, the new form only has 36.  
  • Terminology changes – Prior FAFSA forms provided you with a figure called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which will now be known as the Student Aid Index (SAI).  Your SAI is used by colleges to determine your family’s financial need and eligibility for financial aid at the federal, state, and institutional levels.  

You can learn more about these changes to the FAFSA on the Federal Student Aid website.  

How to prepare for the FAFSA now 

If you’ve never filled out the FAFSA before: 

  • Create an account on 
  • Make note of your username and password so you can access the 2024-2025 FAFSA form when it becomes available (you’ll receive an email once the launch date is announced).  
  • Follow Federal Student Aid on social media to stay up to date on announcements: 

If you filled out the FAFSA form for 2023-2024: 

If you have any questions about the FAFSA, contact Pacific’s financial aid team at 209.946.2421 or  

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