2024-2025 FAFSA FAQS

2024-2025 FAFSA Alert

We are aware that several technical issues are making it difficult for some students and families to submit their 2024-2025 FAFSA.  We are monitoring these issues and will provide further guidance if delays continue to impact students or families ability to file the 2024-2025 FAFSA.


2024-2025 Financial Aid Estimation Resources

Due to the late opening of the 2024-2025 FAFSA and delay in creating estimate aid offers for incoming fall students, we have put together some 2024-2025 Financial Aid Estimation Resources should you wish to estimate certain types of federal or state financial aid based on your processed FAFSA data.

2024-2025 Priority Deadline Extended

To accommodate the late opening of the 2024-2025 FAFSA and to best assist students who have experienced technical difficulties in submitting their FAFSA in a timely manner, the 2024-2025 FAFSA Priority Filing Deadline for WWU is extended to April 1, 2024.

2024-2025 FAFSA Pro-Tips

Review FAFSA Pro-Tips regarding documents, contributor information, how to avoid errors, order of completion, helpful definitions and processing timelines.

The FAFSA Simplification Act was enacted by Congress as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 which means that as part of this plan, there will be significant changes in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the method in which aid eligibility is calculated and terminology.  Please review some of the important information and changes below.  Our office is available to assist you with any questions about these changes and about how to file the 2024-2025 FAFSA.  

2024-2025 FAFSA Important Dates

  • Due to FAFSA simplification and significant updates in the questions and format of the application, the 2024-2025 FAFSA opened on December, 31 2023.
  • Updates will be made to this site with any critical date changes.
  • The 2024-2025 FAFSA Priority Deadline will be extended for the 2024-2025 aid year to April 1, 2024.

Major Changes Include:

  • Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Modifications to family size including which parent must complete the FAFSA
  • Reduced number of questions asked from 108 to about 36
  • Automatic transfer of IRS tax information using the Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to FAFSA

Frequently Asked Questions

What documents do I need to file the FAFSA?

Review the Information Required to Complete the FAFSA video from Studentaid.gov to be prepared once the FAFSA is opened with the correct information and documentation.

What can I do to prepare for filing the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

Students and families are encouraged to create their FSA ID if they have not already done so.  It can take 1-3 days to verify a student or parent contributors identity so creating this ID in advance can simplify the process once the FAFSA is open.

What does a contributor have to do?

  • All required contributors must create an FSA ID to allow their tax information to be shared for FAFSA filing via the IRS Direct Data Exchange (IRS DDX).
  • All contributors regardless of tax filing status for the applicable tax year will be prompted to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (IRS DDX) to transfer tax information if they have a Social Security Number (SSN) OR Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).  If a contributor is unable to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (IRS DDX) they may manually add tax information.
  • Each contributor needs a unique phone number or email to use the multi-factor authentication (MFA) system when setting up an FSA ID.  A student and parent cannot use the same phone number or email for MFA.

Who is a contributor and how are they determined?

Determine who your contributor or contributors are by watching the Preparing for the FAFSA Form video from Studentaid.gov.

For a dependent student

Any of the following may be required to be a contributor on the FAFSA: both biological parents if married, biological parents if unmarried and living together, a biological parent and their spouse (stepparent), a biological parent who is divorced or separated (and provides the most financial support to the student during the 12 months preceding the filing of the FAFSA.

  • NOTE: This represents a change from the previous definition and determination for parent of record.  The contributor is the parent from whom the student received the most financial support the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA, regardless of with whom the student lives and/or for whom their parent claimed on a tax return.  
  • Is a non-custodial parent required to be a contributor if they don’t claim the child on their taxes?  If a remarried parent and their spouse provide more support to the student than the other biological parent (and spouse if remarried) the remarried parent and stepparent who provide more financial support must each provide their tax information on the FAFSA.

For an independent student

A spouse of the independent married student (if the student and spouse did not file married filing jointly on their tax return for the tax year associated with the FAFSA).

What is family size on the FAFSA?

The family size will be transferred from the IRS Direct Data Exchange noting the number of dependents claimed on the tax return associated with the filing of the FAFSA. This value cannot be seen when transferring the information. However, if the family size has changed since the tax return was filed, you will be able to manually adjust this number.

Wile the number of family members in college is no longer considered in the need analysis formula, it is still a required question on the FAFSA.

Who must create an FSA ID and allow their information to be transferred to the FAFSA?

  • Parents who filed married filing jointly (one contributor must create an FSA ID and consent to the release of their tax information).
  • Parents who filed taxes in the following instances must each create an FSA ID and consent to the release of tax information:
    • married filing separately
    • unmarried biological parents living together
    • re-married parent and stepparent who were not married in the tax year associated with the FAFSA
    • parents who are both non-tax filers
  • Any spouse of an independent student who did not file married filing jointly with the student in the tax year associated with the FAFSA.
  • Even if a student or contributor doesn’t have a Social Security Number, didn’t file taxes or filed taxes outside of the US, they must still provide consent to share their tax information.
  • Parents without a Social Security Numbers will use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to create an FSA ID (this enhancement is not yet available but will be for the 2024-2025 FAFSA).
  • For students whose parents who do not have a SSN or ITIN and/or live outside of the United States, instructions will be posted at the FSA ID Creation Website, or they should file the FAFSA and obtain their signatures on a paper FAFSA.
  • There are two alternative options for contributors to provide consent who do not want to or refuse to create an FSA ID:
    • The student may submit the paper FAFSA and obtains wet (original) signatures from all required contributors including parents who affirm their consent.
    • The student completes their section and self-reports information for the parent section on the FAFSA. When the student submits their FAFSA without the parent signature, it will be placed in rejected status by the FPS (FAFSA Processing System). The parent can then provide their signature and consent on a paper copy of the FAFSA Submission Summary. This method is not recommended due to complexity and increased processing time.
  • If a dependent student contributor does not allow consent for their tax information to be shared, the student will be eligible for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan only.
  • A student whose contributor does not give consent is not eligible based on this information alone for a dependency override.  See the dependency questions noted above.

What types of assets do I need to report on the FAFSA and/or how do I report them?

Child support received will continue to be reported, however it will be calculated as an asset rather than as income.

Small businesses will now count as assets.  The net worth of a business is no longer limited to those with more than 100 full-time employees.  Applicants will be asked to report the net worth of all businesses regardless of the size of the business.  

Family farms will now count as assets.  The net worth of a farm now includes the value of a family farm.  The family’s primary residence is still excluded from this value.

For dependent students, education savings accounts will only be counted as a parental asset if the account is designated for the student.  Previously, other sibling’s education savings accounts were included in this value.

Are there any other significant changes in terminology that I need to be aware of?

Student Aid Index: Beginning with the 2024-2025 aid year, the Student Aid Index (SAI) replaces the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The methodology used to calculate this value is also significantly changing.

  • The SAI will be used to determine eligibility for need-based aid. It is calculated using the student’s data (and contributors, if required) which is provided on the FAFSA.
  • A student’s SAI may be a negative number down to –1500.
    • The number of family members in college is no longer considered in the need analysis formula, but it is still a required question on the FAFSA.

How should I report my Work study earnings on the 2024-2025 FAFSA?

Only federal Work Study earnings will be reported on the FAFSA beginning with the 2024-2025 aid year.  

The student will not need to report this value as it will be transferred when the student files the FAFSA.

This represents a change to the federal aid eligibility formula from prior years. 

When can I make a correction to my 2024-2025 FAFSA and view my FAFSA Submission Summary?

Check the status of your form beginning in the first half of March by logging in to your StudentAid.gov account and selecting your FAFSA submission from the My Activity section of your account Dashboard. Once your form is processed, you can make any required or voluntary corrections. The How to Correct or Update your FAFSA Form page at studentaid.gov has additional helpful information.

Check Back for Updates

We will continue to update this page with additional FAQs and deadlines as they become available.  We also encourage you to monitor any important updates at studentaid.gov.