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The Department of Education announced it will be making changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in phases, with full simplification of the form occurring a year later than Congress intended.

The Office of Federal Student Aid announced Friday that the FAFSA Simplification Act -- passed by Congress in December 2020 -- will be fully implemented by the 2024-25 award year, rather than 2023-24, as the law states. Some provisions of the law will be implemented as originally planned or earlier than expected, but the office didn't specify which.

"The news of the delay of full implementation of FAFSA simplification is disappointing, as the urgency for students to access need-based aid has only grown since passage of this legislation," Kim Cook, executive director of the National College Attainment Network, said in a statement.

Changes for the 2021-22 award year based on the new law include repealing the Subsidized Usage Limit Applies requirements, removing the negative consequences associated with answering "yes" on the FAFSA's drug conviction question and removing the requirement for male students to register with the Selective Service System to receive federal aid.

"This phased approach will improve the delivery of student financial aid as quickly as possible without limiting FSA’s ability to offer the FAFSA form and to provide federal student aid," the office said. "It will also help FSA and our partners manage the development timelines, process and guidance updates, and communications requirements generated by these extensive changes."