Waco, TX (FOX 44) — There are changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA for the 2024 school year.

The FAFSA Simplification Act passed in 2020 will expand student eligibility for federal pell grants.

Central Texas A&M staff say this change can encourage more students to enroll for class.

“The previous application was about 108 questions. I believe now it’s only 36, so it’s not going to be such an intimidating factor with students seeking that financial aid,” said Drew Woodward, A&M Central Texas coordinator of student financial assistance.

Woodward says the new FAFSA factors in more education related expenses and other expenses, as well. In comparison to the Expected Family Contribution, which started at $0 on the application, the SAI will start off at negative $1500 to increase a student’s chances for pell grant eligibility.

Woodward says the FAFSA also took away questions about drug convictions and selective service.

Students in approved prison education programs are re-eligible for a pell grant.

Another change with the FAFSA simplification act will give students back their eligibility if their school closed down or lost accreditation.

“Seeing that being a financial aid advisor, students they’ll go to places like Vista or I.T. Tech, can use an absurd amount of pell grant money and boom, when they want to really go for their bachelor’s degree, they have none left and this allows them to kind of get that time back,” said Woodward.

Woodward says the new opening for the FAFSA application will be December 1.