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U.S. Department of Education Announces Updates and Additional Preparation Support for 2024–25 FAFSA Implementation

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The U.S. Department of Education today announced updates on its progress on the 2024–25 Better FAFSA® implementation.

“We are putting all hands on deck and using every lever we have to make sure we can achieve the transformational potential of the Better FAFSA to make higher education possible for many more of our nation’s students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The technical updates we are making today will not impact our implementation timelines, and, combined with other implementation efforts, the Department’s Better FAFSA will result in more students eligible to access more Pell Grants in the 2024–25 award year.”

First, as part of the final steps in preparing to process FAFSA forms in the first half of March, the Department updated how it calculates the amount of aid students will receive in order to be in full alignment with the FAFSA Simplification Act. The update will not affect the Department’s timeline for delivering completed applications to schools in the first half of March, and combined with other implementation efforts, the Department’s Better FAFSA will result in 7.3 million students in total expected to be eligible for Pell Grants in the 2024–25 award year. Since the new 2024–25 FAFSA form became available on Dec. 30, more than 4.7 million forms have been successfully submitted.

The Department will work with colleges and vendors to put this update into effect in the coming days, and it will be available to provide technical support and assistance to institutions through its FAFSA College Support Strategy. Under this strategy, the Department is deploying federal personnel, allocating $50 million in technical assistance and support, and providing tools to help schools prepare to process student records as efficiently as possible.

Second, over the next week, the Department will begin to deploy support from the office of Federal Student Aid and nonprofit organizations to lower-resourced colleges as part of its FAFSA College Support Strategy. These personnel will conduct needs-assessments and provide dedicated help to schools that are preparing for, and processing, student aid offer packages. The Department has received inquiries from over 100 institutions through the Concierge Service and has already followed up with these colleges to identify the specific needs for each institution. The Department has also started proactively reaching out to additional colleges with high Pell enrollment, resource constraints, and other needs to offer support based on their needs.

Third, this week the Department will send system-generated test student records (Institutional Student Information Records, or ISIRs) to schools and their vendors to process student records faster and more efficiently. System-generated test ISIRs are an important step in ensuring schools and their vendors can finalize their systems in order to process student records when they begin receiving them in the first half of March. This action builds on the test ISIRs shared with colleges earlier this month. The Department will continue to update additional test ISIRs and open-source tools stored in a public Department repository leading up to the processing date.

Today’s announcements build on the progress the Department has made in implementing the Better FAFSA form and ensuring all students can access the maximum financial aid they are entitled to in order to pursue their higher education goals. In addition to starting to deliver test ISIRs earlier this month, last week the Department announced that contributors without a Social Security number will be able to successfully submit FAFSA forms in the first half of March. The Department also outlined a process that allows students affected by this issue who need to meet state and institutional aid or scholarship deadlines to submit an incomplete FAFSA form before the issue is fully resolved.

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