Complete the FAFSA
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application is used to apply for federal, state, and institutional need-based grant, loan, and work-study programs. To maximize your eligibility for all types of financial aid, you are encouraged to complete the FAFSA form by March 2nd each year.
New and continuing students must complete a FAFSA application every year to be considered for federal, state, and institutional need-based
Submit Your FAFSA
The 2024-25 FAFSA application is expected to be available in December 2023.
Cal Lutheran's FAFSA school code: 001133
Create or reconfirm your FSA ID
- An FSA ID is an account and password that gives you access to the Federal Student Aid’s online system and serves as your electronic signature.
- Everyone required to provide information on the FAFSA (contributor) must have their own FSA ID.
- Get started here
Gather your tax information
- You will need to provide tax information for the student and their parents or stepparents, if applicable.
- Go to StudentAid.gov and log in with your FSA ID.
- Complete the Student Section of the FAFSA.
- Indicate any contributors to your FAFSA. This includes your parents or stepparents (if you are a dependent student) and your spouse (if applicable).
- Ask your contributors to create FSA IDs and complete their sections of the FAFSA application.
- Be sure to include Cal Lutheran on your list of schools. You can add Cal Lutheran by name or by school code: 001133.
- Review your FAFSA and submit it.
- Start early. Some FAFSA funds are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so submitting it as early as possible is best.
- Be accurate. Provide complete and accurate information on the FAFSA. Any errors or omissions could delay your application or even make you ineligible for financial aid.
- Keep copies of all supporting documents. If selected for verification by the Department of Education, you may be asked to provide copies of your tax returns, W-2s, and other documents to verify your information.
- The Federal Student Aid Estimator can help estimate how much federal student aid you may be eligible for in the 2024–25 award year. Note: This tool estimates the Student Aid Index (SAI) for the 2024–25 award year, not the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for the 2023–24 award year.
- Contact our office for help if you have any questions about the FAFSA or need assistance completing it.
New for 2024-25: FAFSA Simplification Act
A recently passed law known as the FAFSA Simplification Act will enact a sweeping redesign of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. A few of the changes include:
- A new streamlined user experience for the FAFSA application
- Redesigned need analysis and Pell formulas for expanded eligibility for federal student aid
- Initial electronic consent from students, parents and spouse (as applicable) required for all applications
Summary of Major Changes
FAFSA Application Opening Date
- Instead of opening in October, the 2024-25 FAFSA will now be available December 2023. After the 2024-25 aid year, the FAFSA will be available in October as usual.
- The number of questions has been reduced from 108 to about 36. The questions that
have been removed from the 2024-25 FAFSA include, but are not limited to the following:
- The student's housing choice
- The student's, spouse's, and parents' untaxed income that does not appear on the IRS 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR tax return (such as untaxed payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement saving plans represented by IRS Form W-2 Box 12 codes D, E, F, G, H, and S; housing, food, and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy, and others; etc.)
- The student's interest in Federal Work-Study (FWS) employment
- Taxable earnings from need-based employment (such as need-based employment portions of fellowships and assistantships)
- Excluded income for the student, spouse, and parents. This includes other income items that have been reported under "Additional Financial Information" on the FAFSA and excluded from need analysis in prior years (such as taxable combat pay, or special combat pay and cooperative education program earnings). Child support received is still reported, but as assets rather than income.
- The student's driver's license number and state
- Highest school completed by the student's parents. This question now asks whether either parent attended college.
- The college degree or certificate a student will be working on when they begin the award year
- Whether the student or parent filed IRS Schedule 1
- The dislocated worker question
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Replaced
- The FAFSA will now retrieve Federal Tax Information (FTI) using a direct data exchange (DDX) from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
- Everyone (students, spouses (if applicable), and parents) will need to consent to have their FTI imported into the FTI module.
- If consent is not provided by all parties, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional. It is now required.
- To provide consent, the individual will need to access the FAFSA with an FSA ID that has been matched with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- Federal tax filers will have their tax information imported into the FTI module. No tax information will transfer into the FAFSA, but tax data will be sent to the colleges listed on the FAFSA.
- Non-tax filers must also check the box to consent. When IRS Data is accessed, the process will verify non-filing status.
Unusual Circumstances & Provisional Independent Status
- Starting with the 2024-25 award year, both first-time and renewal applicants who indicate on their FAFSA form that they have an unusual circumstance will be granted provisional independent status. They will be able to complete the form without providing parental information.
- Students with unusual circumstances are defined as a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of unusual circumstances which prevent the student from contacting parents.
Unusual circumstances could include:
- Human trafficking
- Legally granted refugee or asylum status and are separate from their parents, or their parents are displaced in a foreign country
- Parental abandonment or estrangement and have not been adopted
- Abusive or threatening environment
- Student or parental incarceration and contact with parents would pose a risk to the student
- After completing the FAFSA, a student will receive an estimate of their federal student aid eligibility, which will be subject to a final determination by the institution they attend. If a student's institution approves their unusual circumstances, their independent status will carry over when they renew their FAFSA form in future award years, and they will be considered independent for as long as they remain at the same institution and their circumstances remain unchanged.
- A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA including:
- The student
- The student's spouse (if applicable)
- A biological or adoptive parent; or
- The spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA (step-parent)
- The student's answers on their section will determine who will be a contributor. Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA.
- Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.
- All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their Federal Tax Information (FTI) transferred from the IRS, have their
tax data used to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid, and allow
the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to share their tax information with institutions
and state higher education agencies for the administration of Title IV aid. Consent
is provided once for the award year and cannot be revoked in that award year. This
consent is necessary even if the contributor does not have an SSN, did not file taxes,
or filed taxes in another country.
- If a dependent student's parents are unmarried and living together, both parents will be contributors, will need to have separate FSA IDs, and need to provide consent.
- Dependent students whose parents filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly only require one parent contributor to complete the FAFSA.
- If the student's parents filed separately, both parents will be considered contributors and therefore need separate FSA IDs, and both must provide consent.
- If an independent student is married and filed separately, both individuals are contributors, must have FSA IDs, and must provide consent for the student to be eligible for Title IV aid.
Parent of Record
- The Parent of Record is the primary parent on the FAFSA.
- The following is a guideline to help determine which parent's income and assets to
- Parents who live together
Parental income and assets in the case of student whose parents are married and not separated, or who are unmarried but live together, shall include the income and assets of both parents.
- Divorced or separated parents
Parental income and assets for a student whose parents are divorced or separated, but not remarried, is determined by including only the income and assets of the parent who provides the greater portion of the student's financial support.
- Death of a parent
If either of the parents has died, the surviving parent shall be considered a single parent, until that parent has remarried. If both parents have died, the student shall not report any parental income or assets.
- Remarried parents
If a divorced parent or if a parent who is a widow or widower has remarried, the income of that parent's spouse shall be included in determining the parent's assessment of adjusted available income if the student's parent and the stepparent are married as of the date of application for the award year concerned.
- Single parent who is not divorced or separated
A single parent who is not divorced, separated, or remarried, shall include the income and assets of such single parent.
- Parents who live together
- If parent A pays child support, and all other support that parent A provides to the student adds up to more than 50% of the support of the child, then parent A is the parent of record on the FAFSA. This is true even if Parent A pays the child support directly to Parent B.
- Note that in cases of divorced or separated parents, the parent with whom the student lived the most in the past 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA is no longer a criterion in determining which parent reports income and asset information on the FAFSA.
Student Aid Index (SAI) will replace Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- The need analysis formula to determine financial aid, formerly known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), will now be referred to as the Student Aid Index (SAI). Unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number.
- Students and families will see a different measure of their ability to pay for college and experience a change in the methodology used to determine aid.
Number in college no longer affects aid calculation
- The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA, but it will be excluded from the federal, state, and institutional financial aid calculation.
- Previously, the FAFSA divided the EFC proportionally based on the number of household members in college. The elimination of this "sibling discount" may cause a substantial change in aid eligibility for some students.
Certain asset exclusions have been removed
- When required, families will now report the value of their farms or businesses as assets.
- More information to come from the Department of Education.
Foreign Earned Income Exclusion Updates
- The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion amount will no longer be excluded from need analysis and will be included in the SAI calculation. It must be manually entered into the FAFSA and may affect the automatic maximum Pell Grant eligibility determination.
Expanded Pell Grant Eligibility
- The FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and is estimated to increase Pell Grant recipients by nearly 15%.
- Incarcerated students will regain the ability to receive a Pell Grant.
- Pell Grant lifetime eligibility will be restored to students whose school closed while they were enrolled, or were subject to a false certification, identity theft, or a borrower defense loan discharge.
Enrollment Intensity Adjustments for Pell Grants
- For students who are not enrolled full-time, a student’s Scheduled Pell Grant award will be multiplied by the student’s Enrollment Intensity percentage to determine their Annual Pell Grant Award.
- Enrollment Intensity is the percentage of full-time enrollment at which a student
is enrolled, rounded to the nearest whole percent. For example, if full-time enrollment
is 12 or more credit hours and the student is enrolled in 7 credits, the enrollment
intensity would be (7 ÷ 12) x 100 = 58%. The student’s full-time Scheduled Pell Grant
for the term would then be multiplied by the student’s Enrollment Intensity percentage
to determine their Pell Grant amount.
Example: $3.697 full-time Pell amount for the term x 58% = $2,144.
Maximum and Minimum Pell Grant Determination
- Maximum and Minimum Pell Grant eligibility will now be determined based on tax filing requirements, family size and composition (i.e., single parent or non-single parent), poverty guidelines, and state of residence.
Year-Round Pell Grant
- Previously, a Pell Grant-eligible student must have been enrolled at least half-time in a payment period during which they received more than 100% of their scheduled award.
- Beginning with the 2024-2025 award year, half-time enrollment is no longer required.
Additional Pell Information
- Visit our Pell Grant page for more details on upcoming 2024-25 changes.
Watch a quick video about the changes
Do these changes also affect the California Dream Act Application (CADAA)?
- The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) plans to mirror the updates on the 2024-25 California Dream Act Application. More information will be shared once it becomes available
Disclaimer: The 2024-25 FAFSA changes are implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. Information on this page is subject to change as new information is released. For more information visit StudentAid.gov