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How to Prep for the 2024-2025 FAFSA This Fall

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How to Prep for the 2024-2025 FAFSA This Fall

Fall marks the beginning of the school year for students nationwide. For high school seniors, the fall also marks the beginning of college application season. As we all know, time moves faster once all of the activities and classes begin. Now is the best time to start preparing and getting ahead of those college and financial aid application deadlines.  To apply for college financial aid you will need to be prepared to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. For the 2024-25 application cycle, the FAFSA will come online in December. Since it is a shorter opening for the application, it’s imperative to be prepared to fill it out as soon as you can. 

Why File the FAFSA? 

The FAFSA is how the amount of aid a student receives is calculated. No matter what your financial situation, you should absolutely file the FAFSA. As mentioned, this year’s FAFSA is being released later to accommodate the new changes being made to the application. Because of that, the time for schools to review and approve aid will be much shorter. So, you want to be prepared to complete it as soon as possible after it is available. The FAFSA is also required to determine your eligibility for student loans when that becomes necessary, and is even used by some scholarship grantors. All of this makes it a very important document that is well worth your time investment.

Why Should I Prepare Now? 

Even though it might seem like there is sufficient time before December, time can slip by very quickly. Additionally, with a smaller application window open, it will be important to be ready to file as soon as you can. The first thing you will need to do, if you have not done so already, is obtain your FSA ID by creating a unique username and password. This will give you access to the online FAFSA application and other information. It will also serve as your legal signature for submitting the completed application. Once that is in place, start gathering the following documents and information:

  • Social Security Numbers for students and parents, or Alien Registration Numbers for non-U.S. citizens.
  • Driver’s license. 
  • Any applicable bank statements and records of investments to document additional income.
  • Records of untaxed income, such as child support.
  • Names of potential colleges for applications.

Independent students will only have to provide their personal information, while dependent students will need to provide it for themselves and their parents. If your financial situation changed dramatically in 2022,  you still need to report the information, but be prepared to state your case directly to your selected colleges. When you are ready to begin filing your FAFSA, be sure that you only go to the Federal Student Aid website at You can also use this site to find information on college costs, graduation, and post-college earnings. Their site is a great source of information for financial aid and information related to college! 

Who We Are

CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from helping to complete 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.

Learn more about completing the FAFSA in my book, Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro! You’ll find complete information on financial aid, saving for college, paying for college, and student loans. Order it now, and make your journey to financial aid a success.

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