2024-25 FAFSA Updates

How the FAFSA Simplification Act Affects You

Last updated: April 17, 2024

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

DU is current with loading 2024-25 FAFSAs.

We have loaded all of the 2024-25 FAFSAs that we've received from the Department of Education. View your checklist to confirm that we've received it, or if we need any additional documentation:

Updates for Students and Families

If you haven't already, now is the time to submit your 2024-25 FAFSA! The sooner you apply for aid, the sooner you'll receive your financial aid offer.

Here is what to expect over the next couple of months:

  • Immediately (if you haven't already): Prospective undergraduate and graduate students should apply for financial aid for the 2024-25 academic year as soon as possible.
  • Mid-to-Late April: We'll begin to notify students if any additional documentation is needed to process their application.
  • Late April/Early May: We'll begin sending financial aid offers to new, admitted students who plan to start classes at DU in the fall. 
  • Early July: We'll begin sending financial aid offers to returning DU students.

Be sure to keep an eye on your financial aid checklist and pay attention to emails from the financial aid office! If you ever have questions, feel free to contact us at finaid@du.edu or 303-871-4020.

2024-25 Application & Aid Offer TImelines

More information about the application process for undergraduate and graduate/law students is available on our website.

We plan to begin sending aid offers within the timelines listed below to students who are admitted to DU and have completed the aid application process. However, these dates are subject to change as we receive new information from our software providers and the Department of Education.

2024-25 Application & Aid Offer Timelines
Admission Round/
Student Type
Admission App Deadline CSS Profile Priority Deadline FAFSA Priority Deadline Estimated Financial Aid Offers Sent* DU Begins to Send Final Financial Aid Offers
Early Decision I November 1 November 15 March 1 Early December Late April/Early May
Early Action November 1 November 26 March 1 Late December
Early Decision II January 15 February 1 March 1 Mid-February
Regular Decision January 15 February 5 March 1 Late February
Returning Undergrads n/a April 15 April 15 n/a Early July
New Graduate & Law Students varies by program n/a March 1 n/a Late April/Early May
Returning Graduate & Law Students n/a n/a April 15 n/a Early July

*Estimated financial aid offers were sent to students who submitted the CSS Profile and the Noncustodial Parent CSS Profile (if required).

What changed with the FAFSA?

There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds).

Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to:

  • The FAFSA is shorter and more user-friendly.

    The FAFSA reduced the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students aren't even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format simplifies the application process and makes it less daunting for students and their families.

  • Students may list up to 20 colleges.

    Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.

  • The FAFSA is available in more languages.

    Previously, the FAFSA was only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application was expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

  • Applicants are required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange. 

    Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

  • All "contributors" must provide financial information.

    A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.

    Contributors will receive an email informing them that they've been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they don't already have one) to provide the required information on the student's FAFSA.

    Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student's education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) replaced the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 

    A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

  • The number in college is not be used to calculate SAI. 

    Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, undergraduate DU students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

    DU will continue to use the number in college for undergraduate students when determining eligibility for need-based institutional financial aid.

  • Some students are automatically awarded a Pell Grant. 

    Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

  • The parent responsible for submitting the FAFSA in cases of divorce or separation has changed.

    For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

  • Family farms and small businesses must be reported as assets.

    When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

What hasn't changed?

While the FAFSA received an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that did not change.

  • For DU undergraduate students, institutional need-based aid (including the DU Educational Grant) is still determined by the CSS Profile, not the FAFSA.
  • The general types of aid available to DU students and federal student loan limits did not change.
  • The FAFSA is still required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA remained the same.
  • The FAFSA stills request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you'll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-25 application. Families with significant reductions in income can consider submitting an appeal.
  • DU admission application deadlines did not change.
  • The questions regarding an applicant's gender, race, and ethnicity have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, DU won't even receive this data from the FAFSA.


DU's Office of Financial Aid is dedicated to providing timely updates to students, families, and our community. Due to the significant amount of changes that are occurring, portions of our website may not yet be 100% accurate for the 2024-2025 academic year. We'll continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid, and appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.



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