The 2024-25 FAFSA is about to be unveiled for college-bound students and families! With the anticipation of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opening in December, here are five things you can do now so you’re prepared to complete the form as soon as possible.
1. Set up a personal e-mail.
There are changes to the FAFSA that will require the student and parent(s) to have personal email addresses. Students should never use their high school email address for college and FAFSA-related purposes. If the student and/or parent do not have a personal email address, establish one now. There are many free or low-cost email services available.
2. Create FSA IDs.
Both you and at least one parent must create FSA IDs at studentaid.gov. Do this at least three days before completing the FAFSA to allow the Social Security Administration to verify your identity. FSA IDs are used to access the FAFSA, populate tax information onto the form, sign the FAFSA, and apply for direct student loans or Parent PLUS loans. Parents: if you already have an FSA ID from a prior college student, you will use it for the new student’s FAFSA as well.
3. Gather all required documents.
Completing the 2024-25 FAFSA will be much easier if you gather all required documents in advance, including your 2022 Federal Income Tax Returns and corresponding schedules. Review our FAFSA Checklist for a list of required information.
4. Know the current value of your assets.
Although the FAFSA will access your 2022 tax return, you will report the current values of your assets as of the day you complete the FAFSA, excluding your primary home and retirement accounts. New this year: The net worth of your farming operation and any businesses you own will now be included in the FAFSA calculation.
5. Apply for college admission.
The colleges you list on the FAFSA will receive your results and use that information to award financial aid. You must apply for admission and be accepted to the college(s) you list on the FAFSA to receive a Financial Aid Offer. Admissions forms can be found on each college’s website, so get them filled out and submitted.
Finally, the FAFSA is your application for federal, state, and college-based financial aid. Apply before the colleges’ priority filing dates to get the best financial aid package you qualify for, and plan to renew the FAFSA every year you will be in college. Complete the form at studentaid.gov. If you’re apprehensive about the FAFSA process, contact the EducationQuest office nearest you to ask questions or to schedule an appointment to get help completing the FAFSA. Remember, our services are completely FREE!
By Jacquie Butler