FSA Debriefs Updates to 2024-25 FAFSA Form, Processing System, and Partner Portal

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

Federal Student Aid (FSA) on Wednesday during its 2023 virtual training conference outlined key changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA, including with the processing system and partner portal, due to this year’s FAFSA simplification overhaul.

The session focused on two key changes of the 2024-25 FAFSA. The first topic was the FAFSA contributor – a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 form, which means anyone that is required to provide a signature on the FAFSA form and provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred from the IRS. The term contributor includes the student, and may include the student’s spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or the parent’s spouse (stepparent). 

FSA outlined steps contributors will take in completing their portion of the FAFSA, first by receiving an email from FSA informing them that they’ve been identified as a contributor. From there, the contributor creates a StudentAid.gov account with an FSA ID if they don’t already have one, and then reviews and submits the required information and signs the student’s FAFSA form. 

Students or parents invite contributors to complete their portion of the FAFSA form by entering the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, and email address, FSA noted. A concern many aid offices have voiced about this process is how parents without Social Security numbers can complete their portion of the FAFSA.

In these cases, FSA clarified on Wednesday that when a student is on the “Invite Parent(s) to This FAFSA Form®” webpage, the student will check the “My parent doesn’t have an SSN” box. The student then can enter the parent’s mailing address instead. FSA added that when these parents log in with their FSA ID, they will experience the same FAFSA application process that parents with Social Security numbers experience.

Aid offices have also expressed concern with issues that could occur if students and contributors don’t provide consent and approval for their federal tax information to be transferred from the IRS directly. According to FSA, if a student or required contributor doesn’t provide consent and approval, the student will not be eligible for federal student aid — even if they manually enter tax information.

FSA said on Wednesday that contributors will have two opportunities when completing the FAFSA to provide their consent and approval for the Financial Aid Direct Data Exchange. Misty Parkinson, director of FSA’s Product Management Group, said when completing the FAFSA, contributors will be warned “every step of the way” that if they do not provide consent, the student will not be eligible for federal student aid. 

“It will be very hard for them not to [provide consent], because we are telling them constantly how important it is to provide their consent and approval,” Parkinson said.

Other key changes to the FAFSA include the creation of the parent wizard, which offers a series of filtering questions that determine which parent(s) must be included on a dependent student's FAFSA form as contributors. Additionally, FSA noted that the save key has been eliminated from the FAFSA process and the Student Aid Report (SAR) has been renamed to the FAFSA Submission Summary. 

FSA went through other scenarios throughout the presentation, including issues with provisionally independent students, divorced or separated parents who are not living with former spouses, and married students or parents who did not file a joint tax return. 

The session also touched on updates to the new FAFSA Processing System (FPS), which will start with the 2024-2025 award year. The Central Processing System (CPS) is the current system processing FAFSA applications, and will be retired in September 2024. 

Along with updates to the new FPS, FSA outlined changes happening to the FAFSA Partner Portal (FPP). FAA Access to CPS Online is the current website that financial aid professionals use to view and make corrections to FAFSAs. FSA said that site will remain active until the end of the 2023-24 award year, September 2024. The sole use of the FPP will start with the 2024-2025 award year and have a new website and URL. FSA explained that both FAA Access to CPS Online and FPP will both be in production for the 2023-24 year, and each website will link to the other until the end of the 2023-24 year, when FAA Access to CPS Online officially ends.   

NASFAA will cover several sessions of the FSA virtual training conference on Thursday. Additionally, we’ll have a new episode of “Off The Cuff” soon debriefing the conference. Stay tuned to Today’s News for more updates.

 

Publication Date: 11/30/2023


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