The FAFSA Changed — Here’s What You Need to Know

March 12th, 2024

Admissions & Financial Aid

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Whether you’re fresh out of high school and ready to take the next step in your education or you’re finding your passion for the beauty industry later in life, you may be wondering how you can afford to further your training and prepare for your dream career. While Tricoci University offers a variety of resources that can help make your program more affordable, one common source of financial aid for most students comes in the form of the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

In 2024, the process for filling out the FAFSA has changed, and these changes will likely impact your financial aid application process, too. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Did the FAFSA Change?

In short, the FAFSA changed because it was overdue for an overhaul. The newly simplified application features the most significant redesign of the process since the Reagan administration. After a short “soft launch” period in December, the new online form became available for incoming students on January 8, 2024.

Unfortunately, the new changes were met with delays after the Education Department had to fix a math error that would’ve cost students $1.8 billion in federal aid. Because of this, students applying for aid for the 2024-2025 school year will likely see delayed aid offers from their schools of choice.

Still, the changes to the new FAFSA will make it easier for low-income students to qualify for federal Pell Grants, which awards money per year that does not need to be repaid.

It’s estimated, according to the U.S. Department of Education, that approximately 21,900 additional students in Illinois, nearly 10,000 additional students in Wisconsin, and approximately 14,000 additional students in Indiana (all three states where Tricoci University has campuses) will qualify for Pell Grants under the new FAFSA. I

For that reason, and to ensure you have the best chance at receiving the maximum amount of aid you qualify for, it’s important to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible, even if you aren’t fully decided on your program or campus choice yet.

What Changed in the FAFSA Process for the 2024-2025 School Year?

As this is one of the biggest overhauls of the FAFSA in it’s history, here are the change highlights of the recent FAFSA Simplification Act you should know:


  • Application is available in more languages. Previously, the FAFSA was only available in English and Spanish. The new application is available in the 11 most common languages spoken in the U.S.
  • Fewer questions. A relief for many students and contributors, the new FAFSA features far fewer questions. Some students will only have to answer 18 questions, though the total number of questions depends on the student and family’s individual circumstances.
  • You can list more colleges. Previously, students could only list 10 colleges to send the FAFSA information to. Now, you can list up to 20, doubling the number of campuses and schools you could receive aid offers from.
  • The metric for determining your aid eligibility has changed. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) was the reigning metric in the old version of the application, whereas the Student Aid Index (SAI) now determines a student’s ability to pay for college. Essentially, the FAFSA helps calculate your SAI, and your need will then be calculated by subtracting your SAI from the school’s cost of attendance.
  • IRS imports your information. In order to successfully fill out the new FAFSA, students and all required contributors must agree to allow the IRS to directly import federal tax information to the FAFSA. Students can still submit the application even if contributors don’t consent to importing their information, but unfortunately, it will make you ineligible for federal student aid.
  • Definition of contributors has changed. Starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA form, the parent who provided the most financial support for a student in the last 12 months will be the required contributor. If this parent is remarried and does not file jointly, their spouse will also be required to contribute. This is a major shift from the previous requirement that was dependent on where the student lived for the majority of the preceding year.
  • Each contributor will need FSA IDs. Yes, even your parents will need to request FSA IDs via as contributors to your FAFSA. It will take, on average, about three days to receive your FSA ID after requesting one. It’s important to factor this into your timeline as you will not be able to submit your FAFSA until ALL contributors have their FSA ID.

Beauty School Students and the FAFSA

The FAFSA application is an important tool to help students interested in any type of postsecondary education afford whatever area of study they wish to pursue. Beauty schools like Tricoci University of Beauty Culture accept the FAFSA and encourage students to utilize this free application to determine what federal aid they may qualify for.

Some students fear that FAFSA loans are only applicable to 2- and 4-year programs, but this is not true! Cosmetology students, esthetics students, nail tech students, and barber students can all potentially qualify for aid utilizing the FAFSA.

Wondering what that process might look like for you? Tricoci University has financial aid advisors ready to help answer questions as they arise. Keep in mind that the drastic changes to the FAFSA process for the 2024-25 school year are new to financial aid departments as well, so receiving an answer to your questions may take a little longer than usual. We are committed to getting you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, and aim to assist prospective and current students however possible.

Tricoci University Is Ready for You

Whether you’ve tackled the new FAFSA loan application yet or not, the instructors at Tricoci University are ready for you! Contact us today to learn more about our exceptional programs and how our 20 years of beauty industry education excellence can help you pave the way for your professional future.

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