Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - The new year brings changes in Louisiana laws and, in 2024, changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. The adjustments mean more Louisiana students could be eligible for financial aid, and the dreaded process of filling them out will cause fewer headaches.

The legally-mandated revamp is being branded as "Better FAFSA" and represents a significant decrease in the number of questions students and their families will need to answer. The changes also mean that more students will qualify not only for some grant amount, but the maximum Pell Grant dollars will go to an even greater number.

The Federal Student Aid website launched the new form on Sunday, December 31, 2024, and the system may prove frustrating while they work out all the kinks. Be prepared if you run into issues.


Completion of the FAFSA application is a graduation requirement in Louisiana. A student can't access financial aid, including TOPS, without it.


The Number of Questions

The old form included more than 100 questions, and you had to scramble to find all the information you needed to complete it. The Better FAFSA will have roughly 40 questions you'll need to answer.

Income Information

With the consent of parents and students, the Department of Education will be allowed to access IRS tax data, alleviating the need for you to gather those details for yourself. The information will be directly transferred into the form. The application process is implementing several fail-safes to keep information protected. The information-sharing will be direct from the IRS to the FAFSA, and logging into your FAFSA application will require your FSA ID versus just demographic data.

You can choose to manually enter the information, if the direct transfer option makes you nervous.


More than 600,000 additional students are expected to qualify for Pell Grant awards, and 1.5-million more students will be eligible for the maximum allotment. Updated awards are announced each year. New numbers haven't been made available for 2024, but the max for 2023 was $7,395.

Changes to the way eligibility is determined will mean an increase in the number of students who receive federal financial aid in the form of grants.

The calculation will be based on the newly-created Student Aid Index and the Federal Poverty Tables. Families can see where they fall on Look-Up Guides provided by both the State of Louisiana and the Federal Department of Education.


The new forms weren't made available until the last weekend of 2023, so the deadlines to complete them for the 2024-2025 Fall and Spring semesters had to shift.

Despite the streamlined application, understanding when you need to do what for the FAFSA is complicated. Check with the school you plan to attend or the guidance counselor at your high school for exact deadline information.

Bottom Line

The FAFSA forms have changed. More students are likely to be eligible, even those who may believe otherwise. The process is still a governmental function and, as with all such things, may be frustrating.

The new format does include some more nuanced adjustments that include definition of family size, who a "contributor" is, and whether the student is dependent or independent.

Your best source for more specific information will be the financial aid office of your chosen school or the guidance counselor at your high school.

Hopefully, the revisions translate into more students being able to afford post-secondary education.

Louisiana FAFSA Changes
Courtesy Louisiana Office of Student Financial Aid

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