We are happy to announce the opening of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming academic year. The FAFSA is a family’s gateway to accessing federal financial aid to help fund a student’s college education. Fill out the Federal Student Aid Estimator to see if filling out the 2024-25 FAFSA makes sense for your family.
It is vital to know the financial aid deadlines of each college and for your student to submit their FAFSA prior to the deadline that corresponds to their admission type (ED, EA, etc). But in short? Fill it out and submit it ASAP.
Why start on the FAFSA as soon as possible?
This year sees the launch of the new FAFSA, which has been re-designed to make it easier for students and families to apply for money to help pay for school. This new version of the application streamlines it by reducing 108 questions to just 36 questions now, including detailed financial information. Students and families will also find it easier to import income data from tax records.
However, this year’s FAFSA is late in coming out; it usually opens in October. This late date may have complicated things for those who have to complete it for the 2024-25 school year. Stay focused and organized so you can submit the form with no errors.
Here is what students, families, and schools can expect during the “soft launch period” according to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website:
- FSA will initiate pauses for site maintenance and to make updates as needed. Users who go online during a temporary pause should return at a later time to complete the form.
- Applicants may experience a waiting room feature.
- If a student completes their form during the soft launch period, their information will be stored for processing. They do NOT need to return to resubmit their application after the soft launch concludes. Note that there is no official end date for the soft launch period.
- If a student completes their FAFSA, but a contributor (a parent, student’s spouse, or parent’s spouse) cannot access the site during a period when the site is unavailable, the contributor can return to complete their portion of the form as soon as the site becomes available again.
- If FSA initiates site maintenance while a student or contributor is completing an application, their data is securely saved in the system as they progress through the application.
- After all sections of the online FAFSA are completed and submitted, the student will receive a confirmation email.
- The selected schools will receive a student’s FAFSA eligibility information starting in late January. Students will receive an email informing them when that information has been sent to the schools.
Students should begin to receive aid information from schools they have been accepted to several weeks after the schools receive their FAFSA information.
Maximize your time and chances to get the greatest amount of aid you can:
- Know there is lots to get done in less time. Shortened timelines pose challenges for students and families, potentially limiting the support available for completing the FAFSA. With less time on hand, it’s crucial to know the requirements and deadlines of the schools you’re applying to.
- Avoid errors and plan time for questions and corrections. Should you have questions, need to make corrections, or add information, these adjustments may not be possible until February. Gather and submit any information to address special circumstances promptly, particularly if your current financial situation for the 2024-25 FAFSA no longer represents your tax year 2022 information.
- Add extra schools now. Prevent application delays by sending your information to all schools you’re considering, even if these schools are just a possibility. Rest assured, if you choose not to apply, the school won’t take any action, so there’s no risk involved.
- Familiarize yourself with state aid. Note that the new FAFSA does not include links to state aid applications. While most states do not require a separate form for state aid, applicants in Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont must seek and complete the state-specific application to avoid missing out on potential aid opportunities.
- Apply for FSA IDs early. There may be a three day processing time. Both the student and at least one parent, based on tax filing status (jointly or separately, if the student is a dependent), require FSA IDs.
- Protect yourself from scams. Know that you should never pay for assistance with student loans or FAFSA completion. Ensure the legitimacy of any loan servicing company you engage with, and always complete your form via the official Federal Student Aid website. For more guidance on detecting fraud and scams, visit the Federal Student Aid site.
Other changes for 2024-25 FAFSA:
- The Department of Education changed its formulas so more students will be awarded Pell Grants, which don’t have to be repaid.
- There is no longer a sibling discount, so families with more than one child in college may get less aid than they would have in years past.
Investing in education is investing in your future! Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Fill out your FAFSA today!
International College Counselors
No matter where your family is in the college admissions process, International College Counselors can help you with every aspect, including adding to the college list, honing college applications, writing admissions essays, and managing college transfers. Call us at 954-414-9986 to discuss how we can support you and your family!