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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 at FAFSA.gov

 

MSU is now receiving FAFSA data from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). MSU is working overtime with its financial aid software provider to configure and test our system so that we can load this data and begin the process of creating student financial aid award packages. The information below includes the most recent updates on what to expect as we work through the process of preparing and distributing award packages to families.

What we know:

  • Newly-admitted students will likely have an accurate financial aid award package early May 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 (late 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 the U.S. Department of Education allows applicants to make those changes. They have indicated that this will be available mid-April.

Exactly when award letters arrive will depend on how quickly information is received from the FAFSA, and how soon MSU and its financial aid software provider can implement system configurations to process the new FAFSA data. The graphic below illustrates how information gets from your FAFSA application to a completed financial aid award package.

A number of families have reported that they were unable to complete the 24-25 FAFSA due to a missing signature. The Department of Education is aware of this issue. Here is the most recent information we have about resolving a missing signature:

  • The issue seems to mostly affect new filers, those who had to create a new FSA ID this year.
  • The issue seems to occur when the FAFSA is completed by an applicant before a new FSA ID is fully processed (up to 72 hours). Future guidance from our office will warn folks to wait until they have verification of their FSA ID processing before beginning a FAFSA.
  • Adding the signature will require applicants and/or contributors to log in to their application and make the required signature update. Currently, applications are not open for corrections. The Department of Education has said that this should be available in the first half of April. Information about making corrections can be found here.
  • Once you can log in and submit your required signature correction, we are hopeful that we will receive and be able to process your updated FAFSA quickly. In previous years, new FAFSAs were received by MSU 48-72 hours after you update them, and viewable in the portal shortly thereafter.
  • Updates about the 24-25 FAFSA can be found here.

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 currently be made to your application. The Dept. of Education has said that users will be able to make corrections in the first half of April. Information about making corrections to your FAFSA can be found here.

Adding a missing signature
You will be able to add a missing signature to your application when studentaid.gov allows FAFSA corrections to be made in the first half of April. Instructions for updating a missing signature are available here.

The Department of Education announced April 1 that it is reprocessing all FAFSA applications affected by issues involving inconsistent IRS tax data. Nationally, fewer than 20% of all submitted FAFSAs are in this category. The updated FAFSA transactions are expected to begin arriving May 1. This means that anyone affected by this issue should receive an award notification in early May. Any FAFSAs completed after April 1 are unaffected by this issue.

The 2024-25 FAFSA is now available at FAFSA.gov.

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

For 20245-25 only, students must submit the current year FAFSA by July 1 to receive State awards such as Michigan Tuition Grant and Michigan Competitive Scholarship. Any other year, the Michigan deadline is May 1.

MSU FAFSA Deadline

While many schools have a cutoff date for institutional aid, MSU does not. Keep in mind that many private scholarships 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.

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. 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)
  • The number of family members in college as a factor for determining aid.
  • Requirements for determining dependency have changed. 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.
  • Anyone required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA form is now 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.

 

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.

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 processes your FAFSA data, which will likely be early May 2024. Any required documentation will be requested once your FAFSA has been processed. There is no need to look for notifications until May.

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.

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.