/What’s Up with FAFSA?

What’s Up with FAFSA?

The 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid Is Here!

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

If you rely upon grants and loans to fund your education, take the time to familiarize yourself with the 2024–25 FAFSA.

It’s new and revised from the 2024-2025 form and as always, it’s free.

When you fill out the online form, it does not obligate you in any way. However, the form does help you determine if you qualify for any loan or grant opportunities.

You can accept, modify or turn down any loan or program for which you qualify.

Grants are based upon need and you don’t have to pay them back. Loans require repayment with interest (although typically on very favorable terms, like low interest and long payback schedules) and are not as difficult to obtain as grants.

Don’t assume that you make too much money to qualify. The only way to really know is to fill out the form.

If you’ve heard horror stories about the 100 questions of FAFSA, relax. FAFSA is only 36 questions long now, thanks to the most recent revision. The streamlined version uses information auto-filled from your parents’ tax returns. The new FAFSA is also much simpler and has online guides, “Help” sections and more. Your school financial adviser can also help you if you’re not sure what to do.

If your parents are divorced, the custodial parent’s information goes on the form. If they share 50-50 custody, use the information of the parent with the higher income.

Of course, maintaining good grades is typically important for scholarships, you don’t have to be an A student to qualify for help. FAFSA focuses on financial need. Any US citizen and eligible non-citizens, like permanent residents and some visa holders, can qualify for federal student aid. It does not extend to DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) students. Non traditional age students are permitted to apply for FAFSA. But dual enrollment students (earning credits that apply to both high school and college) are not permitted.

If you’ve applied for FAFSA before, you need to do so again, as students must apply each year they need financial aid to maintain updated financial information.

Because some financial aid programs have a “first come, first served” operation model, it’s key to fill out the FAFSA ASAP. For federal funding, the FAFSA form must be submitted by 12:59 a.m. Eastern Time on June 30, 2025. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 12:59 a.m. Eastern Time on Sept. 14, 2025. It’s also wise to check with your school as to any submission deadlines.

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