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Father and daughter, looking at a laptop, discovering what happens after they file the FAFSA.

The FAFSA is finally open for the 2024-25 academic year! In this livestream recap, we’ll provide valuable information to help you understand the FAFSA, its significance for families, and the steps to complete it. Whether you’re a student or a parent, understanding the FAFSA process is crucial for securing financial aid for higher education.

What is the FAFSA, and Why is it Important for Families?

The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is your application for most federal, state, and college-based financial aid. It’s essential for families because it serves as the gateway to accessing financial aid that can make college more affordable. By completing the FAFSA, students and their families can potentially receive grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and student loans to help cover the costs of education.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Both the student and at least one parent must create an FSA ID at Allow at least three days for verification by the Social Security Administration.

Using your FSA ID, Log in to the FAFSA at Both the student and parent will complete their respective portions, which are linked through an invitation process. We recommend starting with the parent section and then inviting the student to complete their section. Learn more here.

Soft Launch Phase

The current FAFSA opening is considered a soft launch for the 2024-25 academic year. This soft launch may result in some technical issues or error messages for users. If you encounter such issues, don’t panic. Simply log out and try again later. The government is actively working to address these technical issues.

What Happens After Filing the FAFSA?

Expect your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) viaemail after Completing the FAFSA. This document confirms that your FAFSA has been received, reports your Student Aid Index, and indicates if you’ve been selected for verification. Because of the soft launch, it might take several weeks to get the FSS.

Be prepared for verification. This process allows colleges to verify the accuracy of the information provided on the FAFSA. Not all students are selected, but if you are, the college will request specific documentation to confirm your data. Make sure to provide requested information promptly to avoid delays in receiving financial aid.

Expect Financial Aid Offers from the colleges listed on your FAFSA, if you were accepted for admission. The colleges will use your Student Aid Index to determine your financial need. Based on this, they’ll offer various forms of aid such as scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans.

Advice for Families

Continue Applying for Scholarships. Apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for. Scholarships provide free money to help cover educational expenses.

Borrow Responsibly. If you need to take out loans, only borrow what you need to avoid unnecessary debt.

Complete the FAFSA Annually. Remember to fill out the FAFSA each year you plan to attend college to determine your eligibility for federal aid.

The FAFSA is a critical tool for accessing financial aid for college. Despite the current soft launch phase and potential technical issues, completing the FAFSA is a vital step toward securing financial aid for higher education. If you have questions or need help completing your FAFSA, contact the EducationQuest location nearest you.

By Sydney Burdick