2024-25 FAFSA Updates and FAQs

FAFSA Simplification

Big changes were made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the upcoming 2024-25 aid year! Included below are answers to FAQs as well as recommended next steps and RIT's preferred filing deadlines for the 2024-25 FAFSA. 

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships (OFAS) will update this page as additional information is made available so that we can continue to educate students, families, and our campus community on the new processes.

Information on this page is relevant to U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens seeking need-based aid. International students can learn about applicable financial aid information on the international admissions page.

FAFSA® Simplification Act: On Dec. 27, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The law includes provisions that amend the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act and includes the FAFSA Simplification Act—a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. Specifically, the law makes it easier for students and families to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and expands access to federal student aid.

Changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA

  • The number of questions on the form was reduced from 108 to 46. The form is dynamic, some students won’t even be presented with all 46 questions. 
  • The new form will allow for a much larger percentage of students and parents to have their financial information transferred from the IRS directly into the FAFSA.
  • Federal Pell Grant eligibility is expanded to more students and will link eligibility to family size.
  • After submitting a valid 2024-25 FAFSA, students will receive a confirmation email from the US Department of Education that includes their 2024-25 FAFSA submission date, their estimated Student Aid Index (SAI), and an estimated Federal Pell Grant (if applicable). RIT needs additional information to create confirmed financial aid offers however.  The U.S. Department of Education has started transmitting small batches of 2024-25 FAFSA applications to schools and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. At this time, RIT is in the beginning stages of testing the FAFSA data delivered
  • The ability for students/contributors to make updates and corrections to their FAFSA forms will be available in mid/late April. In advance of that implementation, the US Department of Education will provide detailed information to partners, students, and families on how to correct the most common FAFSA form errors including missing signatures and selecting ‘yes’ to applying for unsubsidized loans only (Question 8).

Next Steps for Future Students

We encourage accepted students to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible.

If you have completed the FAFSA, you can log into your admissions portal to view your confirmed financial aid offer or your updated FAFSA status with RIT. Please note that you may be required to complete additional steps for us to confirm your financial aid offer. Those steps are outlined in your portal. Log into your admissions portal

We will continue to monitor FAFSA changes and provide updates to families. Rest assured, despite the challenges of the FAFSA roll-out, RIT is ready and we’re here to help each step of the way.

If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen seeking aid beyond scholarship funding (e.g. federal loans), you should submit the 2024-25 FAFSA by April 1, 2024.

Although students can file/submit the 2024-25 FAFSA, the ability for school's to create confirmed financial aid offers is still impacted at this time.  As of late March, RIT has begun receiving the necessary FAFSA data from the U.S. Department of Education, however, RIT is now testing that data to ensure the accuracy of calculations, functionality and compatibility with RIT's  financial aid system.  

Until RIT is ultimately able to process incoming FAFSA data, we cannot answer questions about a student's FAFSA status or federal aid eligibility. In addition, changes or corrections that students need to make to their 2024-25 FAFSA cannot be completed and submitted back to the U.S. Department of Education until mid April.

Next Steps for Current/Continuing RIT Students

To determine renewed eligibility for any need-based aid, it is recommended that continuing students submit the 2024-25 FAFSA by the end of  April 2024.

The U.S. Department of Education has started transmitting small batches of 2024-25 FAFSA applications to schools and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. At this time, RIT is in the beginning stages of testing the FAFSA data delivered.  Accordingly, until RIT is ultimately able to process student FAFSA data, it is not possible to answer questions about a student's FAFSA status or federal aid eligibility. 

RIT anticipates sending 2024-25 financial aid notifications to continuing students with valid FAFSAs in late spring.

The U.S. Department of Education has provided a list of tips to help students prepare and file the FAFSA.


Contributor is a new term introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA form. It refers to anyone asked to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form:

  • the student
  • the student’s spouse (if applicable)
  • a biological or adopted parent
  • the parent’s spouse (stepparent).

Contributors will receive an email informing them that they’ve been identified by their student as a contributor, and will need to log in using their own account (FSA ID) to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.  If they don’t already have a FSA ID, they can request one on the studentaid.gov website.

A Contributor is NOT a grandparent, foster parent, legal guardian, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, even if they helped provide for or raise the student.

Family Size is replacing “Household Size” and this number will be based on the designated parent contributor listed on the FAFSA.

A Contributor on the FAFSA form doesn’t mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs.

The contributor would be the parent who provided the most financial support within the last 12 months of completing the FAFSA even if it is not the parent with whom the student primarily resides. If that primary parent is remarried, the income of that parent’s spouse (stepparent) will also be required. 

If the financial support amounts are exactly the same for each legal parent, then the tiebreaker question is, “which parent has greater assets when the FAFSA is being completed?” The parent with the greatest assets would be the contributor to the FAFSA.

The parent identified as the contributor is also known as the Parent of Record. 

The Department of Education has provided the following infographic as an additional resource to help identify the contributor for a student's FAFSA.

Providing consent and approval on the 2024–25 FAFSA is a requirement for federal student aid eligibility. When students and contributors provide consent and approval on the FAFSA form, they agree to

  • Share their personally identifiable information provided on the form with the IRS
  • Have their federal tax information transferred directly into the form
  • Allow the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to use the information to determine their eligibility for federal student aid
  • Allow DOE to share their federal tax information with schools and state higher education agencies

A student and their contributor(s) would each need to create their own FSA ID/account. To create an FSA ID/account visit StudentAid.gov

An account is required to

  • Fill out the FAFSA form online
  • Complete other online forms (such as the Master Promissory Note) required to receive aid
  • Review the federal student aid received


Review these instructions (PDF) on how to create a FSA ID/account without a Social Security Number.  (A Spanish version (PDF) is also available).

If a foreign tax return was or will be filed, use information from the foreign tax return to fill out the FAFSA. The following should be kept in mind when using a foreign tax return:

  • A foreign tax return may not have an "Adjusted Gross Income" line item. Instead, use the equivalent line on the foreign tax return that reflects all wages, dividends, capital gains, business income, retirement distributions, and other income, minus any adjustments to that income.
  • Convert all monetary units to U.S. dollars using the exchange rate published by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Use the exchange rate that is nearest to the date when first completing the FAFSA form.

Family farms and small business 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.

Parents of dependent students should report as parental assets only the value of college savings plans designated for the dependent student (not those designated for other children), regardless of whether the account holder is the parent or the dependent student.

Independent students should report education savings accounts as their own assets.

An incomplete FAFSA will be deleted after 45 days of inactivity. A FAFSA cannot be considered submitted until all required contributors have completed, signed, and submitted their respective sections.

If you make a mistake when submitting your FAFSA form—for instance, if you submit your form without required contributor information or without your signature—don't worry. The Department of Education (DOE) is stating that students/contributors will be able to correct errors beginning  in mid/late April.  In advance of this implementation, the US Department of Education will provide detailed information to partners, students, and families on how to correct the most common FAFSA form errors .  

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 federal and institutional need based aid eligibility. Unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500 and the number in college is not part of the SAI calculation.

Important: Student aid eligibility is based on the following formula:

Cost of Attendance (COA) – Student Aid Index (SAI) – Other Financial Assistance (OFA) = Need



A negative SAI is treated the same as an SAI of zero when determining need. A negative SAI does not substantiate offering aid above the Cost of Attendance (COA).

Some students will automatically be 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.

Yes.  While the FAFSA is not required for submission of the NY State TAP Grant application, it is required for the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) to ultimately process the TAP application. HESC verifies the information in the TAP application with the information submitted in the FAFSA.  For more information or help, contact HESC to schedule an appointment.

At the earliest, the Department of Education (DOE) anticipates it will be making the 2024-25 PLUS Loan application available in late April 2024.   We recommend your parent(s) then start their application after you have received your confirmed 2024-25 financial aid offer.