What is “Better FAFSA, Better Future”?
“Better FAFSA, Better Future” is a federal initiative to implement updates resulting from the FAFSA Simplification Act.
How will this impact me?
The act is intended to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) easier for students and their families. In addition these updates will bring changes that may impact how departments across campus operate and use FAFSA data.
While some of these changes have begun, a majority will impact those applying for financial aid starting the 2024-25 academic year. These includes:
- The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) availability in December 2023 (vs the annual October 2023 release)
- A Streamlined application and reduced number of questions
- A New Financial aid formula: Student Aid Index (SAI):
- Students may see more differences in their financial aid offer starting 2024-25 from prior years.
- Initial electronic consent required from students, parents and spouse (as applicable) required for all applications to access and verify tax information directly from the IRS
- A New Pell Formula
How can I prepare for these changes?
While the 2024-2025 FAFSA won’t be available until December, you can still prepare by doing the following:
- Create an FSA ID if you have not already done so. (Create Your FSA ID Here!)
- 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.
- With the FSA ID, you can fill out the FAFSA when it’s available, sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN), apply for repayment plans, complete loan counseling, and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool.
- Monitor communications provided by the Department of Education for updates.
- Monitor your UC Merced email accounts for updates from the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
- Complete the FAFSA as soon as it opens in December. Completing your application earlier can increase your eligibility for supplemental grants.
Our office created this site to assist the campus community in navigating through this process. Continue to check back in as we post additional resources and share important updates.