Aerial view of the LSU Campus

Navigating Changes to the 2024-2025 FAFSA

Newsroom | Online Student Info Feb. 23, 2024
Student Aid Website on Different Devices

Understanding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is crucial for any learner. Whether you're a current student or considering enrolling in an online undergraduate program, staying informed about recent changes to the FAFSA can help your educational journey go more smoothly. 

What is the FAFSA, and Why Do I Need to Complete It? 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an official form completed by current and future college students and their families to determine their eligibility for financial aid. Completing it is an important step in securing financial help for your education. Whether you're pursuing an online degree or an on-campus program, filling out the FAFSA opens doors to various financial aid options, including loans, grants, and state-specific programs like TOPS for Louisiana residents. 

Financial Aid for Online Students 

Online students have access to many of the same financial aid opportunities as their on-campus counterparts. Loans provide flexibility in covering educational costs, while grants offer financial support that you don't need to repay. Louisiana residents can benefit from TOPS, a state-specific aid program tailored to support higher education pursuits. Many of these options only become available after completing the FAFSA. 

Read more about paying for your online degree. 

Navigating the FAFSA Process 

Successfully navigating the FAFSA process involves several key steps: 

  1. Creating an FSA ID: Get your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID at Both the student and, if applicable, the parent need their own FSA IDs.
  2. Gathering Necessary Documents: Prepare tax information, bank statements, and records of any untaxed income to streamline the application process.
  3. Determining Dependency Status: Understand whether you're classified as an independent or dependent student, as this determines whose financial information is required on the FAFSA. 
  4. Using Financial Information: Provide accurate financial details, as they significantly impact your eligibility for aid. 

Changes to the FAFSA for 2024-2025 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA cycle brings notable changes aimed at simplifying the application process and enhancing support for students: 

  • SAI replacing EFC: In the upcoming 2024-2025 FAFSA cycle, the Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Unlike the traditional EFC, the SAI allows for the possibility of a negative value up to -1,500. This shift represents a significant change in how aid eligibility is determined. It provides a more comprehensive assessment of financial need and potentially increases access to financial aid for students. 
  • FSA IDs: Under the new FAFSA guidelines, each contributor, whether it's the student, parent, or spouse, will need their own Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This unique identification serves as the electronic signature for the FAFSA and other federal documents, ensuring secure access to financial aid information for all parties involved. 
  • Shorter form: Anticipate a shorter FAFSA form for the 2024-2025 cycle, focusing primarily on recent tax return information from the student and, if applicable, their parents. This streamlined approach aims to simplify the application process, reducing the burden on applicants and making it more accessible to a wider range of students and families. 
  • Schools receiving your FAFSA: As of now, colleges and universities may not receive the records that contain the institutional copy of the FAFSA application until March or later. These records are necessary for schools to make decisions about need-based financial aid. While this delay may impact the timeline for notifications about federal student aid and need-based scholarships, it will not affect the consideration of applications for financial assistance.  

LSU Online is Here to Help 

Navigating the FAFSA process can be complex. But with some guidance, you can easily conquer the financial aid process and achieve your academic goals.  
Continue to check the Federal Student Aid website for updated information about financial aid. In the meantime, the LSU Online team is here to help you throughout the application process and ensure you have the resources to succeed.  
If you have questions, connect with an Enrollment Coach today! Or, you can explore our available online programs



Ready to reach your goals?

Take the first step forward by completing the form and our enrollment team will contact you soon to discuss:

  • What program meets your academic and career goals
  • Financial aid options (employer funding, military benefits)
  • Receiving credit for past education (transfer, professional development)
  • The admissions process and timeline
Email is invalid
Phone is invalid
Zip is invalid

I agree to the Privacy Agreement