April 25, 2024
Loans

The New 2024-25 FAFSA is Open. Intermittently.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 academic year has soft launched, following a three-month delay and its most significant redesign since the 1980s.

The Education Department said on its main FAFSA webpage Dec. 27 that the new form will be available to students and families “periodically” while it tests functionality and site performance during planned pauses for maintenance. It urged students and families to continue checking FAFSA.gov for updates.

Anyone who plans to attend college next year should submit the new FAFSA as soon as possible. The sooner you apply, the more money available to you.

The form unlocks federal, state and school-based financial aid, including federal student loans, need-based grants, work-study and even some scholarships. Some of this aid draws from a limited pool and is first come, first served.

How the FAFSA Soft Launch Will Work

The Department said It will save the information of anyone who submits the form during the soft launch, and will not require resubmission when the form is formally launched. Those who submit the FAFSA should receive a confirmation email with preliminary financial aid eligibility information.

The Department said it will provide FAFSA eligibility information to schools and states in late January. Until that time, schools will not be able to answer questions about aid eligibility or status.

In late January, it said, students and families will be able to check the status of their FAFSA form on StudentAid.gov.

What you can do right now

You’ll need an FSA ID to submit the form. Each person who submits financial information for the new FAFSA is called a “contributor.” This could include the student, the student’s spouse, one or both biological or adoptive parents or the parent’s spouse. Each contributor needs a unique username and password — an FSA ID — to log in and complete their portion of the form.

Request your FSA ID on studentaid.gov and plan for a three-day turnaround time to receive it. Students won’t be able to submit the FAFSA until every contributor has their FSA ID.

What’s new with the new FAFSA

The fresh FAFSA formula could impact students’ financial aid packages. An additional 610,000 students from low-income backgrounds are expected to qualify for the Pell Grant, which gives students up to $7,395 that doesn’t need to be repaid.

The new formula, however, eliminates the so-called “sibling discount,” so parents no longer get a break for having multiple children in college at the same time.

If you’re a current college student and need help completing the 2024-25 FAFSA, reach out to your college’s financial aid office. If you’re a prospective college student, contact your high school college counselor or the financial aid offices of the schools to which you’re applying.



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