Financial Aid

9 Questions & Answers about the New (and Late) FAFSA

Learn if you need a new FSA ID, how to handle a recent divorce, what to do if you didn't file a tax return, how to file without an SSN, how to report foreign income, and more.
Woman completing the new FAFSA

Thanks to the FAFSA Simplification Act, the 2024-25 FAFSA will be a much different application than before, with fewer questions for most families and less time needed to complete the form. But change often brings uncertainty, and we've received several questions from families about different aspects of the new application. We've selected nine of those questions to answer below.

Do I need to get a new FSA ID with the new FAFSA?

No, if you already have an FSA ID, you won't need to get a new one with the new FAFSA. However, a member of your family may need an FSA ID who didn't need one before. For example, if your parents are married but file taxes separately, both of your parents will now need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA.

Will there be an issue this year with submitting the CSS Profile in October and then the FAFSA later when the asset amounts may be a bit different?

Your asset amounts may be different on the CSS Profile and the FAFSA, and that's okay. Answer the asset questions as of the date you are completing each form. If colleges review your financial aid applications together, they will use the most recent asset information in assessing your eligibility for financial aid.

What if I have gotten divorced recently and my taxes reflect my ex-spouse's income?

If your marital status has changed since your taxes from two years prior were filed, you will still be asked to provide consent for the FAFSA to check the IRS for your tax data, but you'll then be instructed to manually report your income information.

I didn't file a tax return. Will I need to report my income manually?

No, if you didn't file taxes, you'll simply provide consent for the FAFSA to verify with the IRS that no taxes were filed. The FAFSA will then assume your income is $0.

Can someone without an SSN fill out the FAFSA?

Yes, someone without an SSN can now secure an FSA ID by answering a series of knowledge-based questions with answers pulled from the individual's credit report. Those without credit history will go through another process to allow them to verify their identity and secure an FSA ID. Once someone has an FSA ID, that person can complete the FAFSA.

I have been the victim of tax-based identity theft. Will I be able to pull my tax data into the FAFSA?

If you have been the victim of tax-based identity theft or fraud, you will still need to provide consent to have your tax data shared, however, the FUTURE Act Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX), which transfers tax data into the FAFSA, will not be able to pull in your tax data from the IRS. You will therefore need to enter your tax information manually. As long as you provide consent, the student will be eligible for federal aid.

With the FAFSA not coming out until December, how can you apply for financial aid when you're applying Early Decision?

Many schools with an Early Decision application process will require the CSS Profile or an institutional application for financial aid, which will allow the financial aid office to provide an estimated financial aid offer. Once the FAFSA is received, the college will be able to finalize that offer. Check each college's website to find out their financial aid application requirements and deadlines.

Who is the parent I put on the FAFSA if my parents are divorced?

If your parents are divorced or separated, you'll only report information on the FAFSA for the parent who provided you the most financial support in the past 12 months. If the financial support was equal between both parents, select the parent with the higher income or assets. If that parent is remarried, you'll need to also report the financial information for the parent's current spouse.

What if my parents have foreign income? Do they enter it manually?

Yes, parents with foreign income will still to provide consent for the FAFSA to check with the IRS for a U.S. tax return. Then they'll be asked to manually input their foreign income.

You can find out more about the new FAFSA in our blog post, What You Need to Know about the New FAFSA. And if you have questions, reach out to us. You can find us at and (800) 449-MEFA (6332).

Learn more about the new FAFSA