The Better FAFSA: What You Need to Know (2024)

Fill out the 2024-25 FAFSA today!

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Higher education opens doors to opportunity.

The U.S. Department of Education is making transformational changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. The FAFSA form is an application that students and families need to complete to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study funds, and loans. Completing and submitting the FAFSA form is free, and it gives students access to the largest source of financial aid to help pay for higher education.

The Better FAFSA is simplified, redesigned, and streamlined. It is faster and easier to fill out, with most students and families completing it in less than 15 minutes. It ensures 665,000 more students will receive Federal Pell Grants to pay for college. Additionally, more than 1.7 million more students will receive the maximum Pell Grant.

Making FAFSA Corrections

Some students who already submitted FAFSA forms may need to make corrections. For students who need to make corrections to their FAFSA form, doing so should only take a few minutes. To get started, students and contributors should go to theirStudentAid.govaccountand select the form that notes an "Action Required" under "My Activity." Select "View FAFSA Submission Summary" to review the information and any actions you need to take to complete the form. Select the "Make a Correction" button at the top of the "FAFSA Form Answers" tab.Some of the most common corrections include signing the form or providing consent and approval to access and use federal tax data. Remember: successfully completing your FAFSA form is the first step to unlocking affordable and accessible higher education opportunities.

Watch these videos to learn more about making corrections to your FAFSA:

Other useful resources to help you prepare and submit your FAFSA® Form:

Better FAFSA Toolkits

Watch and share these videos on the Better FAFSA.

High School FAFSA Submission Rate

State Rate as of 5/10/24
District Of Columbia 62.8%
Louisiana 61.1%
Tennessee 60.5%
Illinois 57.9%
California 56.0%
Connecticut 53.6%
Texas 53.3%
Rhode Island 53.2%
Indiana 52.8%
Massachusetts 50.7%

The submission rate is based on the number of high school senior 2024-25 FAFSA submissions divided by the projected total of high school graduates for that state.

Check out high school FAFSA submission rates by state here (updated 5/14/24)

FAFSA Student Support Strategy

On May 6, the Department launched the FAFSA Student Support Strategy to continue increasing the number of high school students who complete a 2024-25 FAFSA and enroll in college, particularly first-time college students and students of color. This investment builds on the Department's efforts to help students, families, and institutions through the 2024-25 FAFSA application cycle, in addition to the College Support Strategy, the FAFSA Fast Break campaign, and direct communication efforts with institutions and stakeholders via the FAFSA Fast News blog.

As part of the FAFSA Student Support Strategy, the Department is providing up to $50 million to help school districts, states, nonprofits, and other public and private organizations with efforts to boost FAFSA completion. These funds will help grow capacity for organizations supporting FAFSA completion efforts, facilitate FAFSA clinics, and provide transportation and communication supports to families as needed. The program will be implemented by ECMCto support organizations with demonstrated experience expanding college access and enrollment. For additional details, read the press release here.

Resources for students and families, high school educators and college access counselors, and college officials

For students and families

For high school educators and college access counselors

For college officials

  • See and share this toolkit for college officials
  • Check out this slide deck
  • Check out this roadmap for institutions and state partners
  • See the FSA Knowledge Center, a repository for all information, guidance, and training related to better FAFSA
  • Watch and share these videos from students, a parent, an organizational leader, and Department leaders on the Better FAFSA.
  • Bookmark this page for regular status updates and resources related to the better FAFSA form
  • Sign up to receive updates on webinars and other information

Additional Actions the Department is Taking

Significantly Reducing Verification Requirements

Thanks to the overhauled FAFSA form, the majority of income data now comes directly from the IRS, which will not need to be verified. This year’s reduction in verifications will reduce the burden for colleges and students while continuing to protect against fraud.

Providing Additional Flexibility on Recertification

The Department will, through Sept. 2024, waive the requirement for institutions to recertify eligibility for federal student aid programs no later than 90 days before their Program Participation Requirement expires. This flexibility will give time back to institutions at this critical moment.

Making Connections to Data

The Department is posting new data and resources to help schools drive FAFSA completion. For example, the Department released data by high school on their students’ 2024–2025 FAFSA submissions, two months ahead of schedule.

Suspending New Routine Program Reviews

The Department conducts program reviews to confirm colleges meet requirements for institutional eligibility, financial responsibility, and administrative capability. The Department will suspend new reviews through June 2024, except for the most serious issues, helping colleges focus on getting aid award offers to students.

Last Updated: 5/15/2024

  • Posted in: Federal AidStudent Financial AidFAFSA

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The Better FAFSA: What You Need to Know (2024)

FAQs

What do you need to know for the FAFSA? ›

Federal income tax returns, records of child support received; and your current balance of cash, savings, and checking accounts (Note: You must provide consent and approval to disclose your federal tax information to be eligible for federal student aid.)

How do I get the most out of my FAFSA? ›

How to Get the Most Financial Aid? 7 Tips to Maximize College Funding
  1. File forms as early as possible. ...
  2. Minimize student assets. ...
  3. Understand and utilize FAFSA strategies. ...
  4. Fill out FAFSA regardless of income. ...
  5. Prepare for merit-based aid possibilities. ...
  6. Consider even top-rated schools as options.
Jan 4, 2024

What do I need to prepare for the FAFSA? ›

You might need the following information or documents as you fill out the 2024–25 FAFSA form:
  1. Your parents' SSNs if you're a dependent student.
  2. Tax returns.
  3. Records of child support received.
  4. Current balances of cash, savings, and checking accounts.
  5. Net worth of investments, businesses, and farm.

How do I convince my FAFSA to give me more money? ›

Request a Reevaluation of Your Circ*mstances

Through this process, you can petition for a reevaluation of the information on your FAFSA® form. This process will likely require you to submit additional documentation to your school's financial aid office.

What 4 things does FAFSA cover? ›

Federal student aid from ED covers such expenses as tuition and fees, housing and food, books and supplies, and transportation.

What income does FAFSA want? ›

There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors—such as the size of your family and your year in school—are taken into account.

What are the 3 most common FAFSA mistakes? ›

11 Common FAFSA Mistakes
  • Not Completing the FAFSA® ...
  • Not Using the Correct Website. ...
  • Not Getting an FSA ID Ahead of Time. ...
  • Waiting to Fill Out The FAFSA Until After You File Taxes. ...
  • Not Filing by the Deadline. ...
  • Not Reading Definitions Carefully. ...
  • Inputting Incorrect Information. ...
  • Not Reporting Parent Information.
Jan 1, 2016

What's the highest amount FAFSA gives? ›

Award amounts can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $7,395 for the 2023–24 award year (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024). The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $7,395 for the 2024–25 award year (July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025).

What not to include on FAFSA? ›

Assets don't include
  • the home in which you live;
  • UGMA and UTMA accounts for which you are the custodian, but not the owner;
  • the value of life insurance;
  • ABLE accounts; and.
  • retirement plans (401[k] plans, pension funds, annuities, non-education IRAs, Keogh plans, etc.).

What 7 items do you need before filling out FAFSA? ›

7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the FAFSA
  • Your FSA ID*
  • Your Social Security number*
  • Your driver's license number.
  • Your tax records*
  • Records of your untaxed income*
  • Records of all your assets (money)*
  • List of the school(s) you are interested in attending.
Dec 30, 2015

Does FAFSA need to know how much money I have? ›

You and your parents will report certain assets on the FAFSA. Your asset records are part of the calculation for your Student Aid Index (SAI), which determines your eligibility for need-based federal aid. It's important to be as accurate as possible when completing the FAFSA.

Is it hard to do FAFSA? ›

Most people take less than an hour to complete and submit a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. This includes gathering any needed documents or data, completing and reviewing the application, and reading the important information on the "Confirmation" page.

How do I maximize my FAFSA? ›

Basic Principles
  1. Reducing income during the base years.
  2. Reducing “included” assets. ...
  3. Increasing the number of family members enrolled in college and pursuing a degree or certificate at the same time.

How do I get extra money from FAFSA? ›

If you're wondering how to get more financial aid, start with these seven tips.
  1. Contact the financial aid office. ...
  2. Apply for scholarships and grants. ...
  3. Appeal your award letter. ...
  4. Sign up for a payment plan. ...
  5. Find ways to earn money. ...
  6. Look into federal student loans. ...
  7. Consider private student loans.

What increases your total loan balance in FAFSA? ›

When interest capitalizes, the unpaid interest is added to the principal amount of your student loan. Capitalization increases your loan's principal balance, and interest is charged on the new, larger balance. Your monthly payment may also increase.

What questions does FAFSA ask you? ›

FAFSA® Form Questions
  • Do unusual circ*mstances prevent the student from contacting their parents?
  • Has your family size changed since your 2022 tax return?
  • Did the individual or anyone in their family receive benefits from the following programs?
  • Earned Income Tax Credit—Federal Benefits.

How do I know what I qualify for with FAFSA? ›

If your FAFSA form is complete and fully processed, your estimated federal student aid and SAI will display under the “Eligibility Overview” tab of your online FAFSA Submission Summary. Before completing the FAFSA form, use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to estimate your SAI.

What information do parents need for FAFSA? ›

Each parent will report similar information to what you reported for yourself: basic information about your parent's identity (e.g., name, date of birth, and Social Security number—if your parent has one); living situation (e.g., marital status, state of residence, family size); and financial circ*mstances (e.g., tax ...

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