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Student financial aid: When will the free application for FAFSA start this year?

The Department of Education this year is updating the FAFSA form to apply for student financial aid which means the filing date has been pushed back.

FAFSA application date for 2024-25 school year delayed

Normally, the US Department of Education opens the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, on 1 October. However, this year the start date to apply, which will be for the 2024-25 school year, has been pushed back to sometime in December 2023 as the agency is updating the application form.

The Department of Education is seeking to streamline the process and at them same time it’s hoped that more financial aid can be delivered to students through expanded eligibility.

However, it could mean a shorter window for perspective borrowers and their families to fill out the FAFSA application as no change to the federal deadline has been announced. The same goes for those of states and institutions, which can be different and are typically earlier than the federal deadline.

Student financial aid: When will the free application for FAFSA start this year?

At this time the Department of Education has only told borrowers who applied last year that once an exact date in December is available, the agency will be emailing those people to let them know. Those who are applying for the first time the agency recommends creating an account and to follow Federal Student Aid on social media for announcements and resources.

Student Aid advises borrowers to get their applications in as soon as possible and given that there may be less time here are some things to keep in mind to be ready.

Where to send FAFSA applications and deadlines

The application is sent to the Department of Education. Students can complete and submit the FAFSA application online by creating an FSA ID.

While it isn’t mandatory to create an FSA ID, it is the fastest way to sign and have the application processed. You can also print the form-fillable application and mail it or call 1-800-4-FED-AID to request a form to fill out and mail.

The federal deadline to turn in your form is typically 30 June 2023. It is recommended that you submit your form at the earliest possible date to allow the federal government to consider your case. Deadlines can be earlier in some states and institutions.

The higher education institution must also receive a copy by the last day of enrollment in the 2024-25 school year. This date is likely to pass before the federal deadline. Also borrowers will want to keep in mind that some schools and states have multiple deadlines. Some of the financial aid available from colleges and states is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Information that must be provided when filing out the FAFSA

Besides the basics like your name, birthday, address, and contact information, the FAFSA asks students to provide their citizenship and marital status. You will then be asked questions about the education level of your parents. Some loans and grants are only available to first generation college students.

Then both the student and parent will be required to provide details about their financial situation, starting with much of the same information that they would report when completing their taxes. Both sectors section will ask a student or parent to report if they or their family has been the recipient of a welfare program like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, or a child nutritional program.

All of this data will help the school’s financial aid staff and the Department of Education to determine the financial need of a student in order to create a student loan package. If you need help filling out the form, the government’s Federal Student Aid website provides a guide.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) makes centralizing all of the information needed to complete your FAFSA easy. The tool can be accessed through The most important feature is that it allows students and parents who submitted a federal tax return to transfer their filing information directly into their FAFSA form.


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