12:13 PM

UHD Prepares for December 2023 Launch of New 2024-25 FAFSA


By Percy Sandel, Contributing Writer, Enrollment Management

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is excited to launch the “Better FAFSA, Better Future” Campaign in anticipation of the release of the new 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The campaign includes a dedicated new FAFSA webpage with online resources, workshops, and communication to share key details and expectations regarding the upcoming changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA set to arrive in December 2023.

The webpage will provide comprehensive information on the new 2024-25 FAFSA guidelines. This online resource serves as the go-to destination for students and parents seeking the latest information and updates related to 2024-25 FAFSA changes.

In addition, the Division of Enrollment Management will host workshops for current and prospective students, parents, high school and community college partners, and UHD faculty and staff.

Current and prospective students are receiving monthly emails regarding the status of the 2024-25 FAFSA. The campaign includes social media content directly published by the Social Gators, UHD’s student social media influencers.

The new FAFSA form is a result of the FAFSA Simplification Act, promising to streamline the financial aid process and make it easier for students to secure the funds they need to pursue higher education. The U.S. Department of Education announced that the improved FAFSA form will be available for students and parents by Dec. 31, 2023. Although students and parents will be able to complete the new FAFSA and submit their information, colleges and universities will not receive the data to begin awarding students until late January.

“Although the timeline is later than we anticipated, we are working to revise our current financial aid staffing to ensure that current and prospective students are not negatively impacted by delayed financial aid awards,” said Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment Management. “We are scheduled to get the student data from the new FAFSA in late January and will begin immediately reviewing the data. As of now, we anticipate that UHD will be able to award students in late February or early March.”

Below is a synopsis of the changes students, parents, and supporters can expect on the 2024-25 FAFSA.

Overview of the FAFSA Simplification Act

Passed by the U.S. Congress in 2020, the FAFSA Simplification Act is part of broader efforts to make higher education more accessible and aims to simplify the application process by reducing the complexity and bureaucracy that students and families often face when applying for financial aid. This overhaul promises to make the application process more efficient and user-friendly.

Release Date and Form Availability

The revamped FAFSA will be available for students starting December 2023. Applicants will access the new form through the official FAFSA website to apply for financial aid starting with the fall 2024 semester. All terms prior to Fall 2024 will use the existing 2023-24 FAFSA form.

Shorter Application Length

One of the most significant changes is the reduction in the application length. The new FAFSA will feature fewer questions and a more intuitive format, cutting down the time it takes to complete the application significantly.

Direct Data Exchange With the IRS for Tax Information

To expedite the application process, the FAFSA Simplification Act introduces a direct data exchange between the IRS and FAFSA. This means that students and their families will no longer need to manually input tax information, reducing the likelihood of errors and simplifying the process.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to be Replaced by Student Aid Index (SAI)

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI will serve as a more accurate representation of a student's financial need, incorporating additional factors like family size and dependency status.

Introduction to Contributors: Consent Needed to Calculate SAI

The new FAFSA will require applicants to identify contributors. These are individuals, such as a parent or spouse, that may be required to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA depending on the applicant’s dependency or marital status. To calculate the SAI, their financial information must be included. Consent from the contributor(s) will be required for a valid application.

Impact to UHD Community

The changes introduced by the FAFSA Simplification Act will have a positive impact on the UHD community. It is expected to simplify the financial aid application process, making it more accessible for both incoming and current students. Students will experience reduced complexity, faster processing times, and greater accuracy in assessing their financial need. UHD's Financial Aid Office is committed to helping students navigate these changes, ensuring they receive the support they require to continue their education.

For more information and updates on the new FAFSA, please visit UHD's dedicated new FAFSA webpage. Your future awaits, and UHD is here to help you achieve it.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.