2024-2025 FAFSA and Applying Early The 2024-2025 FAFSA is here! So, what does that mean for your early applications ? Submitting the FAFSA earlier means you’ll have more time to make an informed college choice.

FAFSA and early action applications

1. Submit the FAFSA ASAP

The government typically releases the FAFSA every year on October 1st. However, in 2023, the FAFSA went through a simplification process that resulted in the form not being released until December 30th. This means it's even more important this year to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible.

2. Calculate out-of-pocket costs

The government uses the information on the FAFSA to determine your Student Aid Index—or SAI. This number is shared with your schools to put together your financial aid packages. The bottom line is the sooner you submit your FAFSA, the sooner schools can begin putting together your award package.

3. Start weighing your financial aid options

While you won’t necessarily receive financial aid packages earlier from your early application schools, you WILL have a clearer picture of what your estimated federal student aid might be. Review your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) after submitting the form to see what federal grants and loans you may be eligible for.

4. What happens next?

Visit studentaid.gov to start filling out your FAFSA online. You’ll need your parent(s) or guardian(s) most recently completed federal income tax returns and W-2s, so let them know that you are starting the application. To prepare, you and your parent(s) or guardian(s) should also create Federal Student Aid IDs , which you’ll use to sign your online application.

Learn more about paying for college and get our expert tips on how to finance your education.

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