Essential FAFSA Filing Tips for the 2024-25 Academic Year

Alberta Waelchi Sr.
Published Jan 25, 2024



The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial step in securing financial assistance for college.

However, the 2024-25 academic year has brought about significant changes and delays in the FAFSA process.

To help students and families navigate this challenging landscape, we have compiled essential tips for successfully filing the FAFSA.


1. Create an FSA ID

One of the first steps in the FAFSA process is creating an FSA ID. This unique identifier verifies your identity and allows you to access your FAFSA.

Make sure all involved parties, including parents and students, create their FSA ID early on to expedite the filing process. 


2. Understand Changes in the Form

The new FAFSA form introduces several changes, which can be confusing for families. Notably, students and parents can only view their respective sections, making coordination crucial.

Make sure all sections of the form are completed accurately and in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary delays. 


3. Be Patient

As the new FAFSA system is still undergoing improvements, it is important to exercise patience. Some families have reported being logged out mid-process, causing frustration.

Consider waiting a few weeks to start the process, allowing the Department of Education time to address any system issues.


4. Utilize the IRS Data-Retrieval Tool

To streamline the process, take advantage of the IRS data-retrieval tool, which automatically populates some of the required information in the FAFSA.

While it is essential to review the data for accuracy, this tool can significantly expedite the filing process.


5. Follow Up with Individual Schools

After submitting your FAFSA, ensure that each of the schools you are applying to has officially received your application.

Check the applicant status portal to verify that the FAFSA and CSS Profile (if required) have been received by the deadline. If any issues arise, promptly contact the admissions team with proof of submission. 


6. Avoid Misreporting Assets

When filling out the FAFSA, be cautious not to misreport your assets. Common mistakes include including the value of retirement accounts, home value, and overvaluing businesses.

Familiarize yourself with the guidelines for reporting assets to ensure accurate calculations.


Conclusion

Filing the FAFSA for the 2024-25 academic year may present challenges due to system issues and changes to the form. However, with careful preparation and adherence to these essential tips, students and families can navigate the process successfully.

Make sure to educate yourself on all the changes and requirements, seek professional guidance if needed, and submit your FAFSA accurately and on time to maximize your financial aid opportunities.

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