2024-2025 FAFSA Changes

FAFSA Simplification

In 2020, Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act resulting in a major overhaul of the application for and calculation of financial aid.

Every school that uses the FAFSA across the country is undergoing the these changes. The systems that support financial aid are being updated as well as the federal application system where families begin the aid process. The hope is that the process to apply for aid is more streamlined and uses financial information already on file with the IRS while also obtaining consent from each individual involved in the application.

The 2024-2025 FAFSA Timeline

The FAFSA usually opens on October 1st each year and this will be the case again in the future. This year, however, due to the significant changes in the application and the FAFSA processing system, the Department of Education (ED) opened in late December. When you complete the FAFSA, ED will process your FAFSA over many weeks to quality check the formulas and data matches. Mines will receive your FAFSA information in mid-March.

If your financial information from 2022 no longer reflects your current financial situation, Mines can make changes to your FAFSA. This process is expected to begin:
Incoming Fall 2024 students: late-March 2024
Current Students: May 2024

What is changing?

The FAFSA will be shorter and more user-friendly
The number of questions is being reduced from 108 to 46. The web version of the FAFSA is dynamic, meaning not all questions are necessary for all students. This should make the application less confusing and more accurate by only asking questions that pertain to you.
Students may list 20 colleges
Previously students were limited to listing only 10 colleges on their FAFSA. That number has been doubled in the new application. Schools are not able to see names of or if any other schools are listed on the FAFSA.
More language options
The FAFSA will now be available online in 11 languages. In the past, the FAFSA was only available in English and Spanish.
The Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
New in 2024-2025 is the term Student Aid Index (SAI). This replaces the misnomer Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with a more accurate description of the output index number calculated by the FAFSA. Schools will use the SAI similarly to how the EFC was used in determining need-based financial aid. If you see older publications referencing the EFC, this is replaced by the SAI.
Everyone on the FAFSA is called a "contributor" and must login with their own FSA ID

New in 2024-2025 is the term “contributor.” A contributor is anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s form. The answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) are required to provide information. It is important to note that the contributor is only “contributing” information to the FAFSA. It does not mean they will be financially contributing to the student’s education costs.

Contributors will be “invited” to complete the application by the individual that starts the FAFSA through email. Each contributor will login to the FAFSA using their unique FSA ID. For married parents who filed their 2022 taxes jointly, only one parent will sign the FAFSA (this is how it is now). If a parent is married, but filed any other way in 2022 other than joint, each spouse is a contributor and will need to login to the FAFSA with their own FSA ID. The purpose of this is so each taxpayer consents to the use of their Federal Tax Information. 

Parents without a Social Security Number should create an FSA ID

Parents who do not have a Social Security Number will now be able to get a login to studentaid.gov to electronically sign the FAFSA. Follow these instructions to set up your login.

The parent will set up a user account by entering their mailing address, their email address (email addresses cannot be shared between user accounts), and a US phone number. The information will be compared to credit information to verify identity, but no credit data will be shared between the credit bureau and FAFSA. Identifying questions will be presented to the user to validate their identity. Once this is done, the user account is active.

If the parent is unable to validate their identity through the credit questions, they will be instructed to call the help center where other information will be used to create their account. Parents will want to make this call as soon as possible to get their login created so they can complete the FAFSA.

All contributors will use the IRS Direct Data Exchange
One primary goal of the new FAFSA application is to use tax information already on file with the IRS. To complete the FAFSA, all contributors must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. There will be some limited cases where an individual may have to enter their tax information manually. This will drastically reduce the number of data-entry errors and the need for students and parents to provide tax documentation to schools for verification.
Which Parent is on the FAFSA
The FAFSA uses the following questions to help students decide who they should consider as parents when filling out the FAFSA. It is no longer based on the parent the student lives with.

  1. Are the student’s legal (biological or adoptive) parents married?
    • If yes, provide information about both parents.
    • If no, go to question 2.
  2. Do the student’s legal (biological or adoptive) parents live together?
    • If yes, provide information about both parents.
    • If no, go to question 3.
  3. Did one parent provide more financial support than the other over the last 12 months?
    • If yes, provide information about the parent who provided the most financial support over the past 12 months, and if the parent has remarried, give information about the stepparent as well.
    • If no, provide information about the parent who has greater income and assets, and if the parent has remarried, give information about the stepparent as well.
Assets will now include small businesses and family farms
Beginning in 2024-2025 all business and farms are included as assets of the family. Previously, small businesses with less than 100 employees were excluded from assets. Farms where the family lived on the farm used to be excluded as well. The primary residence should be excluded from the value of the farm.

What is NOT changing?

The Priority Deadlines

New First-Year/Transfer students
The Department of Education has delayed FAFSA processing into March. There are lingering issues with signatures for many students and parents. Your overall financial aid eligibility will not be impacted by not meeting the priority deadline. Our goal is to get information to you about financial aid eligibility as soon as we can for those making college decisions. If possible, we recommend submitting the FAFSA by March 1 so your information will be delivered to Mines as soon as possible. We will not limit federal, state, or institutional grants based on this deadline.

Returning students
Continuing students should submit their FAFSA no later than April 1.  We understand there are issues with signatures for many students and parents. We are able to be flexible with the priority deadline.

Dependency Questions

Most undergraduate students under the age of 24 will need parent information on the FAFSA. The dependency determination questions are not changing. If you met a dependency determination in the past, you will continue to do so in the future. Click here for prior questions.

Prior-Prior Year Financial Information and Professional Judgement options

The FAFSA will use “prior-prior” tax year data. For the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the FAFSA will import 2022 tax information as the base year. As in the past, if the base year financial information no longer represents your current financial situation, Financial Aid may use a “professional judgement” to update your FAFSA to more accurate information. Visit our Professional Judgement webpage for more information.

Contact Info

Mailing address:
Colorado School of Mines
Financial Aid Office
1301 19th Street
Golden, CO 80401

Office Location:
Ben Parker Student Center, E160
1200 16th St
Golden, CO 80401 

303-273-3301
Toll-free: 1-888-446-9489
finaid@mines.edu

For scholarship questions, email scholarship@mines.edu

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More information:

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For information on Veteran Affairs contact: Registrar's Office 303-273-3200