New FAFSA goes live this month!

New FAFSA goes live this month!

All families with students who will be starting or continuing college in the 2024-2025 school year should complete the new FAFSA.  It is designed to be shorter, more straightforward and unlock more aid for most students.  Think of the FAFSA as the pathway to be considered for all financial aid programs including scholarships, work-study, loans, and grants (merit and financial).  Regardless of your income, you should plan on completing the FAFSA.

In the past, the daunting task of filling out the FAFSA caused many families to elect to not complete the application.  That is why the Government has worked on simplification of the process to get more aid to more families.  Don’t miss an opportunity to potentially reduce the cost of college for your family.

Here is what to expect when completing the new FAFSA:

Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID: The student and each parent/contributor will need to create their own FSA ID for the FAFSA to be complete.  It can take up to 3 days to complete the registration process, so be sure to factor that into the timing.  Create an account at

Shorter Application: The questionnaire is down from 108 questions to 36 (in some cases as few as 18 questions will need to be answered).  The direct IRS import of tax data and smart question skip technology reduced the number of questions.  Now there is no reason to skip this important step in the college application process!

Expect Delays: Usually, the FAFSA opens on October 1 each year, but this year with a January 2024 release families have less time to complete the form and colleges could be delayed with sending out financial aid packages to applicants.  Also, FAFSA will initiate pauses for site maintenance and applicants may experience a waiting room feature to control website volume.  All of this could lead to frustration…but keep calm and keep going!

Sibling Discount Removed: If you have multiple kids in college at once there is no longer a discount.  For some families, this change will mean that you may lose some aid for the 2024-2025 school year.

Direct Import of Tax Data from IRS: You will need to agree to have your tax data automatically imported from the IRS.  Your student will not be eligible for financial aid if you do not agree.

Cash Support No Longer Adverse Impact on Aid: For example, if the student receives a non-taxable gift from a grandparent to help pay for college, that gift will not reduce financial aid eligibility.

New Lingo: The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).  The SAI is used to determine the eligibility for financial aid.  The lower your SAI the greater the need for aid.  The calculation uses the income and asset information you provide through the FAFSA.

Hopefully, completing the new FAFSA is stress-free and results in the opportunity to reduce the cost of college for your family! If you need help with a plan to pay for college or strategies to maximize your eligibility for student aid, please reach out.  I have put my two boys through college, I will use my personal experience along with my formal training to create a plan that is right for you!

Vida Jatulis
Vida Jatulis

Vida joined our MainStreet Financial Planning team in 2022. She utilizes her life and work experiences to help clients develop an action plan for a vibrant and healthy financial life. Vida is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a Master of Science degree in Investments and over 15 years of experience as a Financial Planner, Wealth Advisor, Pension Consultant, Trust Officer, and Portfolio Manager. In addition, Vida has personal experience with struggling and succeeding to reach milestones such as purchasing a home, putting kids through private school, saving for college, achieving debt free status, saving for retirement, raising a family on a single income and much more.

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