2024-2025 FAFSA Changes

Saturday, January 27 | 9 AM – 12 PM

North Carolina’s FAFSA Day offers free assistance to students and parents for completing the FAFSA application. One-on-one or small group support will be provided in Building A at Nash Community College. Participants should create a Studentaid.gov Account in advance to log in and submit the FAFSA quickly. Use a cheat sheet to keep track of your account, and bring necessary items to complete the FAFSA at the event. ECC financial aid staff will be on hand to assist.


How the FAFSA Simplification Act Affects You

Big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application for the 2024-2025 aid year!

The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the need analysis that determines federal aid eligibility, changes in terminology, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.

2024-2025 FAFSA Now Available

Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1 each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA was not available until December 2023. The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now available.

What’s changing with the FAFSA?

There are a number of benefits of the FAFSA simplification act, including a more streamlined application process and a better user experience for the FAFSA, expanded eligibility for federal student aid, and reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds). See a list of changes at the bottom of this page.

What isn’t changing?

While the FAFSA is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are a number of aid-related matters that will not change.

  • The general types of aid available to ECC students and federal student loan limits will not change.
  • The FAFSA will still be required for consideration of federal and state financial aid every year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA will remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will still request tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you’ll report 2022 income and assets on your 2024-25 application. Families with significant reductions in income can consider submitting an appeal.
  • ECC admission application deadlines will not change.
  • The questions regarding an applicant’s gender, race, and ethnicity will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, ECC won’t even receive this data from the FAFSA.

When should I submit the 2024-25 FAFSA?

We encourage new and returning students who plan to enroll at ECC in the fall of 2024 to complete the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available in December. View more information about the application process .

We plan to begin sending aid offers to students who are admitted in late April. However, these dates are subject to change as we receive new information from our software providers and the Department of Education.


ECC’s Office of Financial Aid is dedicated to providing timely updates to students, families, and our community. Due to the significant amount of changes that are occurring, portions of our website may not yet be 100% accurate for the 2024-2025 academic year. We’ll continue to update this page as we receive more information from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid, and appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.

Some fundamental changes include, but are not limited to: