2024-25 FAFSA available in December 2023
Historically, the FAFSA has been available beginning October 1st each year. However, because of significant changes to the application and the rebuild of the FAFSA processing system, the 2024-25 FAFSA will not be available until sometime in December 2023. Updates on an exact date will be posted here when announced.
Yes, it really is important.
You’re likely tired of hearing about FAFSA already, but you hear it so often for good reason—it’s extremely important. In fact, pretty much everything related to financial aid starts with it.
You know it’s important, so here is even more info.
From videos to avoiding common errors, we’re here to help you navigate your way through all things FAFSA.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the best, easiest, and fastest ways to get money for college. The FAFSA is used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships. In addition, colleges, universities, and other scholarship organizations might use your application to determine your eligibility for other aid.
The government takes the information you provide on this form and uses a formula established by law to calculate your Student Aid Index (SAI) which is an eligibility index number —a measure of your family's financial strength. It takes into account your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits, such as unemployment or Social Security.
Here are reasons you should complete the FAFSA:
- It’s free. The application doesn't cost you anything to complete.
- It’s easy. The application can be accessed online and has been simplified over the past few years.
- It’s fast. Results show that it takes most students less than 30 minutes to complete.
- It’s worth it. More people qualify for federal student aid than you think. Do not leave money on the table by not applying.
- It may be required. Many states, schools, and private scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA before they will consider you for any financial aid.
Even the simplest little error can cause a delay in your FAFSA application, so be sure to carefully read all of the questions. Here are some more tips on how to avoid errors:
- Do not list an incorrect Social Security number or driver’s license number.
- If your parent(s) do not have Social Security numbers, list 000-00-0000.
- Use your legal name. Your name must be listed on your FAFSA as it appears on your Social Security card.
- Do not enter a temporary or summer address as your permanent address.
- Do not leave blank fields. Enter a “0” for numeric or “not applicable” for text.
- Be careful when using commas or decimal points in numeric fields (round to the nearest dollar).
- Do not list the adjusted gross income (AGI) as equal to the total income from working (the AGI is usually greater).
- If you incorrectly file income taxes as head of household, the school will need and amended tax return to be filed with the IRS before paying out financial aid awards.
- Be careful when listing your marital status. The Department of Education wants to know your marital status on the day you sign the FAFSA.
- Be sure to provide all information for your parent(s). If your custodial parent has remarried, you will need the stepparent’s information as well.
- List both legal parents on the FAFSA if they live in the same household, even if they are not married.
- An unborn child must be counted as a member of the household if that child will be born during the award year and you will provide the child with more that half of their support.
- Don’t forget to count yourself as a student (member of the household attending college during the award year).
- Remember to list the college you plan on attending by entering their federal school code. Purdue Fort Wayne’s school code is 001828.
- Submitting your FAFSA on time ensures that you are considered for all available aid that applies to you. Submitting it late may result in less aid being available to you.
- If you start attending school in the spring or summer at PFW, you should complete the FAFSA for the current year. New aid years start in the Fall.
- You can apply for financial aid prior to applying for admission to Purdue. However, you must be admitted to a degree-seeking program (or a teacher’s certification program) before eligibility is calculated to receive financial aid.
- Students must invite any contributors needed to complete their portion of the FAFSA. A contributor could be the student, the student’s spouse (if applicable), a biological or adoptive parent, or the spouse of the remarried parent who is on the FAFSA – the stepparent. All contributors are required to have an FSA-ID and must give consent to have their federal tax information uploaded from the IRS, or the student will not be eligible for federal aid.
- We recommend printing the “FAFSA on the Web” submission confirmation page as proof of completion. Keep this in your records. One of the most requested documents is a tax transcript. Get your tax return transcript from the IRS. If you have any FAFSA filing questions, you can contact FAFSA customer service agents at 800-433-3243. Live chat and email options are also available.
- Enter your name and Social Security number exactly as it appears on your Social Security card (include suffixes and your middle name/initial)
- For dependent students: Provide your parent(s) name and social security number exactly as it appears on their Social Security card (including suffixes and middle name/initial).
- For independent married students: Provide your spouse's name and social security number exactly as it appears on their Social Security card (including suffixes and middle name/initial).
Am I Dependent or Independent?
Your answers to questions on the FAFSA® form determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. The questions change a little from one year’s application to the next year’s; for instance, the 2023–24 FAFSA form asks whether you were born before Jan. 1, 2000, while the 2024–25 FAFSA form will ask whether you were born before Jan. 1, 2001. Here are the questions that determine your dependency status, for 2023–24 specifically:
Dependency Status Questions on the 2023–24 FAFSA® Form
|Were you born before Jan. 1, 2000?||Yes||No|
|As of today, are you married? (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)||Yes||No|
|At the beginning of the 2023–24 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)?||Yes||No|
|Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training? (If you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee, are you on active duty for other than state or training purposes?)||Yes||No|
|Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?*||Yes||No|
|Do you now have—or will you have—children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024 [during the award year]?||Yes||No|
|Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2024?||Yes||No|
|At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?||Yes||No|
|Has it been determined by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that someone other than your parent or stepparent has legal guardianship of you? (You also should answer “Yes” if you are now an adult but were in legal guardianship or were an emancipated minor immediately before you reached the age of being an adult in your state. Answer “No” if the court papers say “custody” rather than “guardianship.”)||Yes||No|
|At any time on or after July 1, 2022, were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison, (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or (c) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program?**||Yes||No|
*Answer "No" (you are not a veteran) if you (1) have never engaged in active duty (including basic training) in the U.S. armed forces, (2) are currently a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) student or a cadet or midshipman at a service academy, (3) are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee activated only for state or training purposes, or (4) were engaged in active duty in the U.S. armed forces but released under dishonorable conditions. Also answer “No” if you are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces and will continue to serve through June 30, 2024.
*Answer "Yes" (you are a veteran) if you (1) have engaged in active duty (including basic training) in the U.S. armed forces or are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee who was called to active duty for other than state or training purposes, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies and (2) were released under a condition other than dishonorable. Also answer “Yes” if you are not a veteran now but will be one by June 30, 2024.
**If you do not have a determination that you are homeless, but you believe you are an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, answer “No” to the FAFSA questions concerning being homeless. Then contact your financial aid office to explain your situation. “Homeless” means lacking fixed or regular housing. You may be homeless if you are living in shelters, parks, motels, hotels, cars, or temporarily living with someone else because you have nowhere else to go.
What if I answered "Yes" to one or more of the questions above?
If so, then for federal student aid purposes, you’re considered to be an independent student and will not be required to provide information about your parents on the FAFSA form.
What if I answered "No" to every question?
If so, then for federal student aid purposes, you’re considered a dependent student, and you must provide information about your parents when you fill out the FAFSA form.
Not living with parents or not being claimed by them on tax forms does not make you an independent student for purposes of applying for federal student aid.
Video resource: FAFSA: Determining Your Dependency Status.
After you File
You’ve filed your FAFSA—now what?
To make sure you get your financial aid on time, you’ll want to follow the steps on this page after filing your FAFSA each year. Making sure you check off these tasks will help ensure your success at PFW.
Review the status of your FAFSA 3–5 days after you submit it. Make any necessary corrections as soon as possible to make sure your financial aid is processed quickly and accurately.
Be sure to avoid these common mistakes:
- Switching two numbers (for example, “$1,200” instead of “$2,100”)
- Adding too many or too few zeroes to a number
- Listing your parents’ income as yours (and the other way around)
- Forgetting to have your parent electronically sign the application with their FSA ID
Your FAFSA will be processed with the information you provide, so make sure everything is correct.
In some cases, you may need to make specific changes to your FAFSA to meet eligibility requirements for awards from the state for Indiana residents. Check ScholarTrack for details.
You may be asked to verify the information you provided on your FAFSA before you can be declared eligible to receive financial aid. If you’re selected for verification, you will see the requirements listed on your goPFW account and will receive communication regarding next steps.
The most common verification tasks are submitting a tax return transcript.
Be sure to complete verification as quickly as you can and turn in all required documents at the same time to avoid delays with your financial aid.
Don’t wait too long. If you submit your documentation at the end of the semester, there is no guarantee that your verification will be completed before the last day of classes. This could affect your financial aid eligibility, and we may be required to cancel any existing awards you received.
Email is our primary way of communicating with you. Make a habit of checking your university email on a regular basis—if you miss a crucial message, it could delay your aid or make you ineligible due to missed deadlines.
Once your eligibility has been reviewed, you’ll get a financial aid award offer. Take time to review your award offer with your family. It gives the details about your financial eligibility, expected costs, and other important information. All students will have access to their award offer on goPFW and new students will receive a hard copy via the US Postal Service.
Get familiar with your aid package and your cost of attendance (COA). If you receive more funding after your award package has been put together, and that funding causes your aid total to exceed your COA, your award package may change. In some cases, your aid can change even if it doesn’t exceed your COA.
Grants and scholarships are automatically accepted on your behalf since they represent money that you don’t have to earn or pay back. You must manually accept, reduce, or decline all other awards through goPFW—otherwise, they won’t be applied to your bursar bill.
Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 For help on studentaid.gov or the Office of Financial Aid at 260-481-6820.