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A Simpler 2024-25 FAFSA

Congress introduced the FAFSA Simplification Act in 2021, and it goes into effect for the 2024-25 school year. This page is your source for information on the changes and what they may mean for your financial aid.

2024-25 FAFSA Application Portal Is Now Open 24/7 At FAFSA.gov

The new FAFSA application is a simpler, quicker process! The FAFSA is now up 24/7. This page at studentaid.gov has information about how to make sure you are prepared to complete the new FAFSA before beginning the process.

January 30, ED announced that Federal Student Aid will not be transmitting FAFSA results to schools until early March. Any changes that need to be made to your submitted FAFSA can be made once this data has been sent. For up-to-date information about the new FAFSA from ED, visit studentaid.gov.

The FAFSA Simplification Act, passed by Congress in 2021, contains significant changes to how federal aid is processed. Key changes required by the law include:
  • A streamlined FAFSA application
  • A new method of determining aid called the Student Aid Index (SAI), which will replace Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

More about the new FAFSA:

Tuesday, Jan. 30, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that schools will not be receiving any 2024-25 FAFSA information until the first half of March 2024. The previous estimate was that information would begin arriving at the end of January 2024. As soon as MSU begins receiving FAFSA data from the Department of Education, MSU can begin the process of creating 2024-25 financial aid packages for students. This process usually takes several weeks.

What we know:

  • Newly-admitted students will not have an accurate financial aid award package before April 2024.
  • Continuing students who have a valid 2023-24 FAFSA on file currently have an estimated 2024-25 aid package in their student portal (student.msu.edu). This estimated package uses 2023-24 FAFSA data and calculations and assumes a similar financial situation for 2024-25. Shortly after we receive the 2024-25 FAFSA data from ED (mid-March), aid packages for continuing students will update based on 2024-25 data.
  • Students who need to make changes to their 2024-25 aid application or have special circumstances (e.g., reduced household income, change of parent marital status) will have to wait until mid-March to make those changes.

We will continue to post updates at finaid.msu.edu/fafsa2024 as we receive additional information.

The 2024-25 FAFSA is now available at FAFSA.gov. FAFSA data will begin being sent to schools in early March 2024.

Filling out the FAFSA early is always a good practice! Since the 2024-25 FAFSA is a new application and system, the website may experience slowdowns in the first few days after it launches. Waiting until the second or third week of January should not delay your award package, as the Department of Education does not plan to send FAFSA data to schools until late January.

Federal FAFSA Deadline

If you plan to attend college during the 2024-2025 academic year, you must file the FAFSA prior to ceasing attendance in the academic year or June 30, 2025, whichever is earlier.Federal aid includes the Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loans.

Michigan FAFSA Deadline

Students must submit the current year FAFSA by May 1 each year to receive State awards such as Michigan Tuition Grant and Michigan Achievement Scholarship.

MSU FAFSA Deadline

While many schools have a cutoff date for institutional aid, MSU does not. Keep in mind that many private scholarships that use FAFSA information to determine eligibility, and these awards may have their own earlier deadlines. Awards may also be limited to a certain number of awardees, so completing the FAFSA early is always suggested.

Students and parents who will be accessing the FAFSA can create an FSA ID now. This username and password is your key to accessing and signing the FAFSA. Since an FSA ID can take around three days to be verified and created, completing this process ahead of time means you will be all set when your are ready to complete the application.

Fixing an error
If you received notification that there is something that needs to be corrected on your FAFSA application, or you are aware of incorrect information that needs updating, changes cannot be made until FAFSA data is transmitted to schools by the Department of Education. This is expected to happen in early March. Once you receive notification that your data has been sent, you will be able to log in and update your 24-25 FAFSA application.

Adding a missing signature
Instructions for updating a missing signature are available here. There are anecdotal reports of students being told they must wait until FAFSA data is transmitted to schools to add their signature, but there has been no official word from Federal Student Aid about this. We will update here when we have more information.

This studentaid.gov page will help students determine if they are considered independent or dependent, and whose information they must report when they fill out the 2024-25 FAFSA form.

The 2024-25 FAFSA has a new term: Contributor. Anyone required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form is considered a Contributor. This includes the student, but could also include the student’s spouse, parent or stepparent. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student's college costs. Studentaid.gov has more information about determining your Contributors.

Every Contributor is required to have an FSA ID set up at studentaid.gov. It may take up to three days to process an FSA ID, so Contributors are encouraged to set this up now to avoid delays when you're ready to complete the FAFSA.

Exactly when award letters arrive will depend on how quickly information is received from the FAFSA, and how soon MSU system configurations are updated for the new FAFSA data. Here is a look at how information gets from your FAFSA application to a completed financial aid award package.

If you need to submit any documents to MSU to verify information on your 2024-25 FAFSA, you will receive notification in your financial aid portal (student.msu.edu) in the "Documents" tab. You will not have any notification in the portal until MSU receives your FAFSA data, which the Department of Education has said will likely be the end of January. Any required documentation will be requested once your FAFSA has been processed. There is no need to look for notification until mid-February at the earliest.

The 2024-25 FAFSA no longer uses the number of family members in college as a factor for determining aid. While we will not know for sure how this change affects individual families until we begin receiving FAFSA data, it is likely that the removal of this consideration could result in a net reduction of aid for some families with more than one college student.

Cost of Attendance (COA): COA includes tuition and fees, food and housing, books and supplies (including course materials and equipment), miscellaneous personal expenses, and transportation. 

Contributor: A parent, step-parent, student, or spouse of the student who is providing information to the FAFSA. 

Consent: Required from all contributors in order for the IRS to share tax data directly to the FAFSA. If any contributor does not provide consent, the student will automatically be ineligible for aid.

Direct Data Exchange (DDX): Contributors who are asked to provide financial information are required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to transfer their 2022 tax information (or non-filing status). The DDX makes entering information much quicker than hand entry and drastically reduces the possibilty for errors that could slow the processing of your FAFSA.

FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS): A summary of your completed FAFSA information. This replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR) that was used in previous years.

Student Aid Index (SAI): Calculated by FAFSA data and will determine student aid eligibility. This replaces the EFC that was used in previous years.