The U.S. Department of Education is expected to release its simplified federal student aid application for current and prospective college students by Dec. 31.

More students will be eligible for federal Pell Grants under the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, according to the federal government.

Here are the anticipated changes to the form and how they could impact Texas students.

The overview

Each year, approximately 18 million students fill out the FAFSA form. Students must complete the form to qualify for federal student loans, grants and work-study funds. Texas colleges and universities will also use students’ FAFSA information to determine how much financial aid they are eligible for.

Students interested in attending a Texas institution should submit their FAFSA form by March 15 for “priority consideration.” For more information, Texas students can also contact the financial aid offices at the schools they plan to attend.

All applicants must submit the form by June 30, 2025. Click here for other state-specific deadlines.

What’s happening?

Federal officials delayed the release of the FAFSA form—which typically opens in October of each year—to ensure they had enough time to make the changes. The new form is expected to be more user-friendly and take less time to fill out.

Financial aid will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning students should apply as soon as possible, according to ​​Jack Wallace, the director of Governmental Relations for Yrefy, a student loan refinance company.

Some key changes to the application include:
  • Students will complete less than 50 questions, down from 108. According to the federal student aid office, some students will only need to answer 18 questions.
  • The application will be available in the 11 most common languages spoken in the U.S. Previously, the form was only available in English and Spanish.
  • Students may list up to 20 colleges or universities on their application. Students were previously limited to 10.
  • Families with multiple students in college will no longer be eligible for extra aid, known as a “sibling discount.”
  • All “contributors,” including parents, stepparents and spouses, must provide financial information. Contributors will be identified based on a student’s answers on the form.
  • The Internal Revenue Service will transfer students’ and their families’ tax information directly to their FAFSA application.
Students and families can also use the federal student aid estimator to project how much aid they may be eligible for.

According to the federal student aid office, 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds will qualify for federal Pell Grants. This includes over 51,000 Texans, the department of education reported.

Quote of note

“Financial aid is extremely important, particularly in this day and age, with the high cost of education,” Wallace said. “So you’re going to have to be an educated consumer.”

Wallace said prospective students should calculate the complete cost of attending schools—including tuition, housing, books, transportation and more—and compare it with their financial aid package.