Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
An orientation coordinator stands with students outside at orientation.

FAFSA information

Major changes and improvements

Major changes and improvements are coming to the 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This redesigned and streamlined FAFSA form is now available.

Already filed the FAFSA?


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.

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning Oct. 1 each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024–25 FAFSA did not become available until Dec. 31, 2023, and schools will begin receiving FAFSA data by the first half of March 2024. This means that financial aid packages for the 2024-25 aid year (fall 2024–spring 2025) will occur later in the year. Updates on exact dates will be posted here when announced.

Changes to the 2024–25 FAFSA

Extended priority filling date

NAU is extending the FAFSA priority filing date to May 1 (previously April 1) to allow the time necessary for students and families to consider NAU’s financial aid offer and make informed college decisions.

A shorter and simpler FAFSA

The 2024–25 FAFSA form will offer a new, streamlined user experience, making it less daunting for students and their families. The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46.

  • Applicants will be able to skip as many as 26 FAFSA questions, depending on their circumstances. Some applicants will need to complete as few as 18 questions, taking less than 10 minutes.
  • The 2024–25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

Introduction of “contributors”

“Contributor” is a new term on the 2024–25 FAFSA form. It refers to anyone (you, your spouse, your biological or adoptive parent, or your parent’s spouse) who’s asked to provide their information, consent, and approval to have their federal tax information transferred automatically from the IRS into the FAFSA form (more on that later), and signature on your FAFSA form. A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.

  • For divorced, separated, or parents who have never married, you will need to determine who is the Parent of Record on the FAFSA form.

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

Providing consent

Students, spouses, parents, and stepparents will now need to provide their consent on the FAFSA in the new Consent to Retrieve and Disclose Federal Tax Information section of the FAFSA.

  • This consent will allow the IRS to share Federal Taxpayer Information (FTI) with schools listed on the FAFSA.

Your contributors must provide consent and approval even if they don’t have a Social Security number (SSN), didn’t file a tax return, or filed a tax return outside the US. If you or your contributors don’t provide consent and approval, you won’t be eligible for federal student aid.

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.

Student Aid Index

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is an index number that’s calculated using the information that the student and contributor(s) provide on the FAFSA form. It will be used to calculate how much and what types of financial aid students are eligible to receive. The SAI value can range anywhere from -1500 to 999999. The SAI replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) starting in the 2024–25 award year.

After all sections of the online FAFSA form are completed and submitted, you will receive a confirmation email noting their submission date, your estimated Student Aid Index (SAI), and estimated Federal Pell Grant eligibility.

Additionally, after the FAFSA form is submitted and processed, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access an online copy of their FAFSA Submission Summary. The FAFSA Submission Summary replaces the Student Aid Report for the 2024–25 award year.

The FAFSA Submission Summary has been specifically designed to highlight your eligibility for federal student aid. It will include the answers that you submitted your FAFSA form (except for any federal tax information that was transferred directly from the IRS), your SAI, and an estimation of the amount of federal student aid that you may be eligible for. However, you will not receive a FAFSA Submission Summary until the FSA processes the FAFSA, beginning in late January.

Your FAFSA Submission Summary is not an aid offer. Aid offers will come directly from any schools you’ve listed on your FAFSA form and have been accepted to.

Number in college in SAI calculation

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 students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

How to prepare


Northern Arizona University’s Office of Financial Aid is dedicated to providing timely updates to students and families. 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 will continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid.