U.S. Department of Education Provides Updates and Enhanced Support for 2024-25 FAFSA Rollout

The U.S. Department of Education revealed today the latest advancements in its efforts on the 2024–25 Better FAFSA® implementation.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, “We are fully committed to leveraging all available resources to realize the transformative potential of the Better FAFSA initiative, ensuring more students across the nation can access higher education opportunities. The technical enhancements introduced today will not disrupt our implementation timeline. Together with other ongoing efforts, the Department’s Better FAFSA initiative will expand eligibility for Pell Grants to a greater number of students in the upcoming 2024–25 award cycle.”

In the final stages of preparing to process FAFSA forms in early March, the Department adjusted its aid calculation methodology to align with the FAFSA Simplification Act. This modification will not delay the delivery of completed applications to schools in March. As part of the Better FAFSA initiative, 7.3 million students are projected to be eligible for Pell Grants in the 2024–25 academic year. The new 2024-25 FAFSA form, launched on Dec. 30, has seen over 4.7 million successful submissions so far.

The Department will collaborate with educational institutions and vendors in the upcoming days to implement this update efficiently. It will offer technical assistance and support to schools through its FAFSA College Support Strategy, leveraging federal personnel, allocating $50 million for assistance, and providing tools to streamline student record processing.

In the following week, the Department will allocate support from the Federal Student Aid office and nonprofit organizations to assist lower-resourced colleges under the FAFSA College Support Strategy. These individuals will assess needs and provide tailored assistance to colleges as they navigate student aid packages. Over 100 institutions have reached out through the Concierge Service for support, and the Department is actively engaging such colleges to address their specific requirements.

This week, the Department will distribute system-generated test student records (ISIRs) to schools and vendors to enhance the efficiency of processing student information. Issuing these test ISIRs is crucial in ensuring schools and vendors finalize their systems for the receipt and processing of student records in March. This initiative follows the distribution of test ISIRs to colleges earlier this month, with additional test ISIRs and open-source tools set to be updated in a public Department repository closer to the processing date.

These developments signify the Department’s ongoing efforts to implement the Better FAFSA form and enable all students to access their full entitlement of financial aid for higher education pursuits. In addition to the early delivery of test ISIRs this month, the Department announced last week that contributors lacking a Social Security number can successfully submit FAFSA forms in March. A process has been outlined for affected students to submit an incomplete FAFSA form prior to the resolution of this issue, allowing them to meet state and institutional aid deadlines.

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