Be Prepared for a Fast Financial Aid Application Cycle
It’s a well known fact that the “early bird gets the worm” and as I’ve talked about often on the blog, the earlier you submit your financial aid paperwork, the better chance you have of more funding for college. But, in a year where the FAFSA is being delayed (because of some great changes that are happening!), many students and families are left wondering how financial aid distribution will work for the 2024-2025 school year.
2024-2025 FAFSA Updates
For the 2024-2025 college application cycle, the FAFSA will be open to students and family by December 31, 2023. Unfortunately, that means we’re not 100% sure when that opening day is. College financial aid offices cannot access that information until 30 days after the application opens, which means that the earliest colleges will begin reviewing applications is the end of January. This is almost 3 months later than the FAFSA timelines have been in previous years. It also means that the window of time that the schools have to compile and disburse financial aid offers is also shortened. As a student applying to college in the fall, or a student returning for another year at a university, be prepared to be patient and understanding with your financial aid offices.
What Does It Mean for the FAFSA This Year?
Like every other year, the advice of applying early still matters. As soon as the application opens, be prepared to submit your paperwork. Check out our tips on being prepared for that here! Colleges are actively working to determine how they need to adjust their financial aid deadlines, so it’s important to stay on top of that information for the schools you’re applying to. It is very important that students and parents check each college’s website to find out whether it uses the FAFSA or CSS/PROFILE, and when it must be submitted. You don’t want to miss a deadline! Especially in a year like this, where everything will move quickly.
Remember, some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, which is why it’s critical to apply as soon as you can. If you receive a request for verification you also want to make sure you respond to that as quickly as possible. As the opening of the FAFSA application approaches, it’s the perfect time to schedule a free strategy session with Jodi of College Financial Aid Advisors now!
Although you want to apply to college and submit the FAFSA as early as possible, make sure you have all of your financial aid award letters before making your final selection in the new year. Keep a lookout in your email to make sure you don’t miss any communications from your prospective colleges. Know when your college requires a definite commitment from you, and adhere strictly to that deadline. This year is going to feel like a whirlwind in the world of financial aid, so hold on tight and give the offices you’re working with grace as they figure it out alongside us all.
More about Jodi and College Financial Aid Advisors
Jodi helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.
Still Want More Help?
Get more information on financial aid in my book, Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro – it makes a great holiday gift! You’ll find information on everything including admissions deadlines, financial planning, filling out the FAFSA, award letters, searching for scholarships, and comparing student loan options. Order it now, and get the information you need to successfully navigate the financial aid journey.