Will Housing Choice Be Included On the 2024-25 FAFSA?

Award Year: 2024-25 KA-36526 Helpfulness Rating 5,469 page views

This guidance is specific to the 2024-25 award year and later.

No. Effective with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the student housing choice question (on campus, off campus, with parents, etc.) is removed from the FAFSA. Since the school needs this information to assign the correct cost of attendance (COA) to each student, the school will need to find an alternative method for addressing this. See AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Can a School Assume Housing Status When Packaging Students? 

The FAFSA Simplification Act specifies which questions can be asked on the FAFSA and prohibits the U.S. Department of Education (ED) from asking for additional information. ED interprets this to mean they cannot ask for the student’s choice of living arrangements. However, many schools have been using the answer to this question on the FAFSA to construct its COAs.

This information is more important than ever starting with the 2023-24 award year. Under Section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended, [20 USC 1087LL], at a minimum, the school is required to have different, separate costs of attendance (COAs) for the following:

  1. Students without dependents residing in institutionally owned or operated housing;
  2. Students with dependents residing in institutionally owned or operated housing;
  3. Students living off campus and not in institutionally owned or operated housing;
  4. Dependent students residing at home with parents;
  5. Students living in housing located on a military base or for which a basic allowance for housing (BAH) is provided under 37 USC 403(b); and
  6. All other students.

Of course, if the school does not offer on-campus housing, then that school does not need to have a COA for #1 and #2 above.

The on-campus housing allowance must be based on the greater of the average or median on-campus costs. If the school used to have a single housing COA component based on some estimate of all housing options, the new way the on-campus housing allowance has to be calculated might not match up with other choices (e.g., off-campus), meaning it is more important than ever that the school knows the student's housing choices for packaging purposes.

NASFAA is aware that this presents a challenge for many schools and sent a March 16, 2023 letter to ED expressing those concerns. We do not expect this to change for the 2024-25 award year, so schools should be making alternative arrangements. Again, see the AskRegs Q&A noted above.

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