7 Tips for the New FAFSA
Thanks to the FAFSA Simplification Act, the FAFSA, beginning with the 2024-25 version, will include several key changes. The application should be available by the end of December 2023, and then every October after that. To prepare for the revised form, and make sure you complete it correctly, we've put together some tips.
- Every person who reports information on the FAFSA is called a Contributor. Every Contributor needs an FSA ID to access the FAFSA unless that person filed taxes jointly with another person on the application. In that case, only one of these two people needs an FSA ID. Though the FAFSA is not available until the end of December 2023, Contributors can and should set up an FSA ID now here.
- For a student to invite a Contributor (i.e. the parent or step-parent) to complete a section of the FAFSA, the student will need to enter the person's name, email address, date of birth, and Social Security number. Students should have that information on hand before starting the application.
- Once a family submits a FAFSA, the student should expect to receive a confirmation email within a few days, which includes an estimated Student Aid Index (SAI). Federal Student Aid will begin sending out FAFSA Submission Summaries (FSS) to students, which includes a full summary of the student's FAFSA answers, starting at the end of January 2024. Colleges will also begin to receive FAFSA information at the end of January, so if you're a family wondering if a college received your FAFSA, be aware of that timeline. Students submitting FAFSAs anytime after the beginning of February 2024 should expect to receive their FSS document within a few days of submitting the FAFSA.
- If a parent fills out the parent FAFSA section and provides consent, the FAFSA will automatically attach that information to the FAFSA of any student that designates the parent as a Contributor (so parents with multiple children attending college only have to complete the parent block once). However, if parents have different 529 account values for each child, the parent will need to go back into each child's FAFSA and manually update this value on each one.
- Any incomplete FAFSA will be deleted after 45 days. However, the 45-day window can be reset by any Contributor on the FAFSA making an update to information reported on the application. So if you're someone waiting on another Contributor to complete the form, go in and make a change to reset the clock.
- If you're a student who invited a Contributor by mistake, and now want to uninvite that person, you can log in to your FAFSA and change the Contributor. If the original Contributor clicks on the original email invitation received, the person will be brought to the FSA welcome page, but will no longer see the invitation link to complete the student's FAFSA.
- If a Contributor filed jointly with a spouse in the income year listed on the FAFSA (2022 for the 2024-25 version) but is now separated or divorced from that spouse, the FAFSA won't allow the Contributor to pull in tax return data from the IRS. Instead the application will prompt that person to enter tax return information manually. So if you're in this situation, make sure to have your tax data handy.
We're hosting a webinar on Monday, December 4th at noon all about how to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA. Don't miss this presentation! You can register for the event here.