Navigating the Shift: Adjusting to Housing Changes on the 2024/25 ISIR

By Meredith Cellitti, FAAC® | May 15, 2024

In the realm of financial aid, change is a constant. The 2024/25 ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record) has brought about a notable adjustment — the removal of the housing question, specifically concerning living arrangements. This alteration, stemming from the FAFSA Simplification Act, prompts educational institutions to reconsider their approaches to gathering crucial student data. Here’s what you need to know and how schools can adapt.

Understanding the Change

The FAFSA Simplification Act delineates the questions the Department of Education (ED) can pose on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Notably, the act prohibits ED from seeking additional information beyond the outlined queries. Living arrangements, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut and has consequently been eliminated from the list of permitted questions.

Implications for Schools and Adapting Strategies

While schools retain the freedom to inquire about living arrangements, they cannot mandate students to furnish this information to access Title IV funding. In simpler terms, the processing of funds cannot be contingent upon a response regarding a student’s living situation.

Given this regulatory shift, educational institutions must devise alternative methods to gather pertinent data. Here are some recommendations:

  • Integration into Existing Forms: Consider incorporating the living arrangements question into an existing form, such as the application for enrollment.
  • Creation of New Forms: If a separate form is necessary, ensure a contingency plan is in place for cases where students do not provide the required information.
  • Policy-Based Assumptions: Institutions may make informed assumptions based on existing policies. For instance, for a campus in which all students commute, the Institution could assume dependent students live with parents, while independent students reside off-campus.
  • Transparent Communication: Inform students about the potential impact of their housing status on eligibility for financial aid.
  • Policy and Procedure Documentation: Include the methods used for determining housing status in your institution’s policies and procedures.
  • Compliance Awareness: Schools must be vigilant; failure to utilize known housing statuses can result in noncompliance and liability for errors.

Key Housing Components:

Under the amended Section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, institutions are mandated to have separate cost of attendance categories for various housing situations. These categories serve as crucial components in determining the financial aid eligibility of students. Here’s a breakdown of the required housing components:

  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 is provided under section 403(b) of title 37
  6. All other students


Adapting to changes in financial aid regulations is an ongoing necessity for educational institutions. By proactively implementing strategies to address the absence of the housing question on the 2024/25 ISIR, schools can ensure compliance while effectively supporting their students’ financial needs. Stay informed, stay adaptable, and keep student success at the forefront of your efforts.

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