The Federal Student Aid office recently announced FAFSA changes that will go into effect for the 2023-2024 school year. Other news and media outlets, such as Forbes, have covered these changes – and reported incorrect information. We want to ensure that you and your college-bound family are armed with information to make the best possible decisions about filling out their FAFSA in the coming years. Here’s everything you need to know, including the timeline for changes to take effect.

Removal of Drug Conviction Questions

Past FAFSA forms have asked questions about drug conviction. These questions will be removed for the 2023–24 FAFSA® form. 

myStudentAid Application Is Retired

In previous years, the FAFSA could be submitted via a mobile application – myStudentAid. The application is being retired. Applicants can either submit their FAFSA online using a desktop computer or laptop, or they can go to StudentAid.gov to submit their FAFSA application using a mobile device browser (Safari, etc.). 

FAFSA Simplification Act Changes

The FAFSA Simplification Act that was recently passed by Congress includes:

  1. Overhaul of the FAFSA form (for example – going from over 100 questions to closer to 36).
  2. Changes in how need is assessed.
  3. Procedure changes for schools to participate in Title IV programs.

Learn more about the FAFSA: Applying for Financial Aid: FAFSA and CSS Profile

Gender Identification Questions

Questions asking specifically whether the applicant is male or female have been removed across all platforms. 

Learn more about how gender identification questions: College Applications and Financial Aid for Transgender Students

Selective Service Eligibility

StudentAid.gov is no longer offering Selective Service match. Previous questions asking applicants to indicate that they were interested in registering for the Selective Service have been removed across all platforms. 

Incarcerated Students

Per the FAFSA Simplification Act, incarcerated students will regain eligibility to access federal Pell Grants. Students are identified as incarcerated if:

  1. Address on the FAFSA forms matches an address in the FAFSA program’s correctional facility file.
  2. An applicant submits paper FAFSA form specifically developed for incarcerated applicants.
  3. The FAA submits an application for incarcerated students and sets the “incarcerated applicant” flag. 

Need Analysis Income Threshold

Each year, there is an income threshold that equals an “automatic zero” when the FAFSA helps to calculate a family’s expected family contribution (EFC). For the 2023-2024 school year, this threshold has been increased from $27,000 to $29,000. 

Learn more: When Your Expected Family Contribution is Too High

Key Takeaways

Truth be told, the FAFSA change rollout for the 2023-2024 school year doesn’t look as though it’s going to have a dramatic impact on applicants or their families – which is a win! However, the significant changes that were passed in the FAFSA Simplification Act are going to be effective on the 10/1/23 FAFSA that affects the 2024-2025 school year. For example, if you have multiple kids in college at the same time or you are divorced/separated, there are going to big changes coming that could dramatically affect your financial aid eligibility. We encourage all college-bound families to join the MyCAP community to stay informed on these upcoming changes.

Not only will you get access to a free software application to help you organize your college funding  journey, but you’ll also have access to regular educational webinars and events hosted by our team of experts. We stay on top of FAFSA changes so you don’t have to! Register for your free account by clicking here.