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Free Application for Federal Student Aid Changes

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your application for financial aid at College of DuPage and determines whether you qualify for grants, work study, loans and some scholarships.

In December of 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act to expand access to federal student aid and make it easier it for students and families to complete and submit the FAFSA form. The FAFSA has minor changes each year, but for 2024-2025, the biggest changes in several decades are being implemented.

To help students with completing their 2024-2025 FAFSA, we will have some open FAFSA Completion Labs available. Learn More

2024-25 FAFSA Application Changes

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the process used to award federal student aid.

Per Federal Student Aid, the 2024-2025 FAFSA form is available for short periods of time while they monitor site performance and update the form to provide you with a better experience. For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

Good news, the 2024-2025 FAFSA is going to look a bit different:

  • The number of questions has been cut by more than half.
  • The application will be available in 11 languages.
  • The application is role-based and each person that needs to complete a section of the FAFSA will be considered a contributor.
  • All contributors will need a FSA ID.A parent or spouse without a social security number will now be able to get an FSA ID.
  • If the parents of a dependent student are not married, the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support will be used on the FAFSA, even if the student lives with the other parent or the other parent has custody.
  • All contributors will be required to provide consent to a Direct Data Exchange (DDX) between the Department of Education and the IRS.
  • Families will now report the value of their farms or small businesses.
  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced with the Student Aid Index. 
  • Multiple people in college will no longer be part of the calculation for financial need.  

New FAFSA Terminology

As part of the new FAFSA, you will also need to learn the following new terms.

Any individual required to provide consent and approval for federal tax information (FTI) along with their signature on the FAFSA® form, including the student; the student’s spouse; a biological or adoptive parent; or the parent’s spouse (stepparent).
Replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR) as the student’s summary of data inputted on the FAFSA form.
Replaces the term “household size” on the FAFSA form. It captures the appropriate number of family members and dependents in the applicant’s household, within the meaning of section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or an eligible individual for purposes of the credit under section 24 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
For a dependent student whose parents are divorced or separated, the primary or custodial parent is the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support and is required to provide their information (and if applicable their spouse’s information) on the FAFSA form.
If a student indicates they have unusual circumstances or indicates for the first time they are unaccompanied and homeless, or at risk of being homeless (without a designation from a specified entity), the student will be considered provisionally independent and will be able to fill out the FAFSA form as an independent student. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will determine if the student’s circumstances make them eligible to apply independently and, if so, make any necessary updates to formally make the student independent.
Ability of a student to receive a maximum Pell Grant (amount determined annually by Congress) which depends on annually published federal poverty guidelines; the U.S. tax return adjusted gross income (or the equivalent for foreign tax filers); state of legal residence; family size; and tax filing status.
Ability of a student to receive a minimum Pell Grant depending on annual published federal poverty guidelines, Adjusted Gross Income (or the equivalent for foreign tax filers), state of legal residence, and family size.

The percentage of full-time enrollment at which a student is enrolled, rounded to the nearest whole percent used to determine a student’s annual Pell Grant award. For example, if full-time enrollment is 12 or more credit hours and the student is enrolled in 7 hours, the enrollment intensity would be (7 ÷ 12) × 100% = 58%.  The student would receive 58% of their Pell award.

Credit Hours Percentage
12 or more 100%
11 92%
10 83%
9 75%
8 67%
7 58%
6 50%
5 42%
4 33%
3 25%
2 17%
1 8%

Special or extenuating situations (such as the loss of a job) that impact a student’s financial condition and support a financial aid administrator adjusting data elements on a case-by-case basis. For more information, please visit financial aid

Conditions that justify a financial aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status, commonly referred to as a dependency override, based on an unusual situation (e.g., human trafficking or parental abandonment).

How You Can Be Prepared to Complete Your FAFSA

  1. Setup an email account. If you or your parents do not have an email account, you should create one. All contributors will need to add an email address when creating their account at It is recommended to use an email account other than their school issued email account.
  2. Setup your FSA ID. All contributors including the student, parent and/or spouse, will need to setup an account at This must be set up prior to beginning the 2024-2025 FAFSA.
  3. Determine a contributor.  Determine if or which parent is considered a Contributor for the 2024-2025 FAFSA.
  4. Get an estimate. Before the 2024-2025 FAFSA becomes available, applicants may use Federal Student Aid’s Estimator to get an estimate of their Student Aid Index, SAI.

PLEASE NOTE: College of DuPage sends all official communications to students through their official COD email address. The reason COD does this is to protect the student’s privacy and assure that all official communications are sent directly to the student.  To log into your COD email address, visit


Contact Information

Office of Student Financial Assistance
Seaton Computing Center (SCC), Room 123
(630) 942-2251
Fax: (630) 942-2151

Regular Hours

  • Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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