The FAFSA Simplification Act, enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, represents a significant overhaul of federal student aid, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, need analysis, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in the Title IV programs. The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) announced a phased implementation approach to the FAFSA Simplification Act, with full implementation by July 1, 2024.
To give financial aid administrators and other vested stakeholders time to prepare for the upcoming changes to the FAFSA form in advance of the 2024–25 FAFSA form release, we are pleased to announce that a 2024–25 FAFSA prototype is now available for use.
What is the 2024–25 FAFSA Prototype?
The FAFSA prototype offers the financial aid community an advance opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the FAFSA user experience ahead of its release. It is not a complete replica of the 2024–25 FAFSA form that will be available on fafsa.gov. Instead, it is a web-based design tool that allows users to navigate specific scenarios that many 2024–25 applicants will encounter on the live website. The community can use this tool to prepare staff and college access professionals for the upcoming FAFSA launch.
The specific scenarios that the FAFSA prototype demonstrates are —
Initiating a new application as a student or parent,
Completing an in-progress application as a student, parent, or spouse, and
Common corrections scenarios, including missing critical data elements or signatures, and voluntary corrections.
Users should closely read the information provided at the start of the prototype to understand the assumptions and limitations of the prototype. When navigating a scenario, the prototype will advise users when particular actions must be taken and alert users that certain functionality is unavailable. The scenarios the prototype covers will not be exhaustive of all possible situations users may encounter while filing an actual 2024–25 FAFSA application.
Limitations of the Prototype
This prototype has limited functionality and may not represent the final FAFSA experience. For example, since the prototype does not maintain a database, data cannot be stored or submitted. There are no simulated interfaces with systems internal or external to Federal Student Aid. In addition, while the prototype contains parameters allowing users to enter data and walk through the form, it does not include certain FAFSA functionality, such as a Student Aid Index calculation, field and page edits, or validation of data, that are characteristic of the FAFSA website.
Search and other complex interactions are for display only and are not fully functional;
Selections with school names or cities use sample content;
Users may experience slow load times for some pages;
Accessibility features may not perform as expected;
Tooltips and other help resources may not be present;
Dropdown and search suggestions may experience performance issues; and
The prototype does not adjust to the size of the browser window or device.
Note: The prototype is not an early release Web Demo Site. The FAFSA prototype can be used as a tool to better understand the experience that 2024–25 applicants may have. Additionally, the 2024–25 FAFSA form itself is still in development and subject to the 30-day public comment period. Therefore, it may vary slightly from the prototype described in this announcement. It is important to note, however, that the prototype does not share code with the production version of fafsa.gov. Any inconsistencies or errors that prototype users may encounter are not indicative of the behavior of the production version of the fafsa.gov website.
We are excited to share this useful tool with the financial aid community. We understand that FAFSA applicants and their contributors will contact you with questions about using the 2024–25 FAFSA form once it is available. We hope you find the FAFSA prototype helpful in answering their questions and appreciate the assistance you will provide in guiding them through the upcoming cycle.
Contact Information and Feedback
If you have questions or feedback about the 2024–25 FAFSA prototype, please send an email to FSA_FAFSA_Team@ed.gov.