Financial Aid

What We've Learned about the New 2024-25 FAFSA

Items of note include the soft launch period has ended, most applicants will skip the income questions, those who filed taxes jointly will still need to list the spouse's name and SSN, FSA has a webpage of guidance, and more
Student filing the 2024-25 FAFSA on a laptop

The 2024-25 FAFSA opened, as promised, by the time the ball dropped on 2023, but it wasn't without some issues and a large amount of downtime during its initial few days. Now that we're a few weeks into the application, we wanted to provide some updates. Here's what we've learned so far about the 2024-25 FAFSA, and what you need to know if you're submitting it this year.

  • Federal Student Aid declared the initial opening of the FAFSA a "soft launch" period, and cautioned families that they may encounter waiting rooms and periods of time when the application would not be available. FSA planned to use this time to fix any arising issues with the application and perform necessary maintenance.
  • On January 8th, FSA published a notice that the soft launch period had ended, and the FAFSA would now be open 24/7, with only routine maintenance interrupting the application cycle, similar to previous years.
  • This year, as in the last few years, the FAFSA makes answering income questions simple by pulling in federal tax information from the IRS. However, while in previous years FAFSA filers participated in this process, this year, individuals only need to provide consent that tax information be transferred, and the form then skips the income section entirely for most filers. If you're completing the FAFSA and worried you missed something, you didn't. As long as you provided consent to have your data transferred, your income questions will be answered behind the scenes in most cases. A small number of applicants, such as those who have been victims of identity theft with the IRS or those whose marital status and tax filing status have changed since 2022, will be prompted to enter their income information manually.
  • Everyone who has their name and information included on the FAFSA must fill out their section of the application solo, with one exception. Anyone who's married and filed a joint tax return only needs one spouse from the couple to serve as a contributor and complete the application. The individual completing the form will still need to report the spouse's name and SSN, but this doesn't mean the spouse will need to do anything within the FAFSA. The application will simply use the spouse's data to verify it against the joint tax return.
  • Federal Student Aid has created a page for financial aid administrators that lists the current, known issues that some individuals are experiencing as they file the FAFSA this year. Each issue includes a full description of the problem and a workaround, if there's one available.
  • Federal Student Aid also has a webpage with guidance for anyone submitting a FAFSA. It includes information about creating a account (an FSA ID), documents you'll need to complete the application, tips on answering questions, and where to go for help.
  • If you're a returning student filing the FAFSA, or the parent of one, you likely have a financial aid deadline later on in the spring. With so many incoming freshmen logging in to the FAFSA right now, it won't hurt for you to give the application a little breathing room and submit your own FAFSA in a few months. Definitely make sure you meet your college's deadline, but know that you likely have some time to do that.

If you'd like to chat with an expert to get help completing your FAFSA, there are several upcoming virtual events that offer that assistance. Visit to register. And if you have a question you'd like to ask now, reach out to us here at MEFA. You can email us at and call us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332).