As summer begins, it's the perfect time to focus on securing financial aid for the upcoming academic year. Understanding the process and deadlines for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is crucial for maximizing your financial aid opportunities.

Why Apply for Financial Aid?

Despite common misconceptions, it's worth applying even if you think you won't qualify due to high income or low grades. The FAFSA form is free to submit, and many students are surprised to find they are eligible for various types of aid, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal loans.

 Current Challenges

This year, the share of high school seniors submitting the FAFSA has dropped significantly, raising concerns about affordability for many students. As of mid-February 2024, only 24% of the high school class had completed the FAFSA, a significant decline from previous years​​​​. Technical glitches and delays in the rollout of the new FAFSA form have contributed to this decline, making it essential to complete the application as soon as possible.

When to Apply

The FAFSA form for the 2024–2025 academic year has been available since December 30, 2023​​. If you haven't applied yet, do so as soon as possible to maximize your chances of receiving aid.

Key FAFSA Deadlines for 2024–2025

  • Federal Deadline: Submit by June 30, 2024, at 11:59 PM Central Time (CT).

  • State Deadlines: Vary by state; some as early as the winter of the previous year. Check your state’s specific deadlines.

  • College Deadlines: Each institution may have its own deadlines for institutional aid. Confirm with the colleges you’re applying to.

What You Need to Complete the FAFSA

  1. FSA ID: Create one at the FAFSA website.

  2. Social Security Number: Essential for identification. (Or your parents’ SSNs if you are a dependent student.)

  3. Driver’s License Number: If applicable.

  4. Tax Records: For the 2024–2025 FAFSA, use 2022 income information.

  5. Records of Untaxed Income: Include child support, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits.

  6. Records of Assets: Such as savings and checking account balances, investments, and business assets.

  7. List of Schools: Up to 20 schools where you plan to apply.

Common FAFSA Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Leaving Blank Fields: Enter '0' or 'not applicable' instead.

  2. Incorrect Social Security Numbers: Double-check entries.

  3. Using Nicknames: Use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card.

  4. Wrong Tax Information: Ensure you use the correct figures from your tax returns.

  5. Forgetting to Sign and Date: Ensure all required signatures are provided.

Final Tips

  1. Apply Early: Early applications can result in more aid.

  2. Check for Errors: Review your FAFSA for accuracy to prevent delays.

  3. Stay Informed: Follow up on your application status and respond promptly to any requests for additional information.

Despite the challenges, the Department of Education has announced that over 3.1 million FAFSA forms have been successfully submitted since the new form went live​​. The simplified FAFSA aims to make it easier for students from low-income backgrounds to receive aid, with estimates showing that 610,000 more students will qualify for federal Pell grants​​.

By staying proactive and informed, you can make the most of the financial aid opportunities available to you. Don’t miss out on the support you need for your educational journey—apply for FAFSA today!

Resources to Help You


- Article posted on 6/5/24 -


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The information in this article has been sourced from, CNN, CNBC,, 

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