2024-25 FAFSA is Now Available: Here’s What You Should Know

As of Dec. 31, the much-anticipated new 2024-25 FAFSA is now available online for students and families to complete. Although the form has been released, it is important to note that that the U.S. Department of Education shared that the release is a “soft launch” and that the form may be unavailable periodically as they work through any potential issues.

Group of happy teen high school students studying outdoors, preparing for lectures together, free space

So, what does this mean for students and families? This means that there may be glitches or interruptions during the soft launch period that families should consider. The U.S. Department of Education has indicated that the soft launch will allow the department to monitor site performance, conduct planned pauses for maintenance, and make updates to improve the user experience. In addition, they have advised that Federal Student Aid (FSA) will not transmit results to schools until later in January.

As a reminder, there are things you can do now to prepare for the updated FAFSA if you would prefer to wait to file until after the soft launch. You can review our November blog post for more details. Here are a few other helpful things to keep in mind should you choose to fill out the FAFSA during the soft launch period:

  • If a student completes their form during the soft launch, information will be stored for processing and they do not need to return to resubmit their application once the soft launch concludes.
  • FSA will initiate planned pauses for site maintenance. During these pauses, students who are already online will be able to complete their work, but other users may not be able to begin or resume work on their 2024-25 FAFSA form. If you are unable to fill out the form, you should come back later and try again.Students with modern devices studying online indoors
  • Students may experience a waiting room feature to help control website volumes for those trying to fill out the form.
  • If a contributor is unable to access the site during maintenance, they should try again later and fill out their section as soon as the site becomes available again.
  • Once your 2024-25 FAFSA form is completed and submitted, students will receive a confirmation email that includes their submission date, their Student Aid Index, and their estimated Federal Pell Grant eligibility. Students will not receive an official FAFSA submission summary until their FAFSA is processed, beginning in late January.

Deadline Reminders

In Missouri, the deadline to file the FAFSA to be eligible for the Missouri Access Grant Program is April 1. Applications received before that date will receive an Access Missouri award, although the final award amount will not be determined until later in the year.

It is also important to note that some colleges and universities may have their own FAFSA deadlines for the financial aid they offer. Please check with each school you are interested in to make sure you are meeting important deadlines.

Three Major Steps after Decision Day

Hey Seniors! Congratulations on a job well done!

It’s time to celebrate — and then think about what’s next! Don’t lose focus, there are a few major steps you need to accomplish before you’re ready to attend college this fall. For those who have not made a decision yet, there is still time!

Most schools, especially community colleges, have a rolling admissions policy. This means that they are constantly accepting students up to the beginning of classes in August. Here is some information that will be helpful:

1. Finalize all scholarships / financial aid

Two people staring at the screen of a laptop.

There are different ways to pay for school and most students have multiple sources to do so. Make sure your college has all your information so you are all set for the beginning of your semester, especially if you plan to take summer courses. Each student will be sent a document that considers all forms of your financial aid, including grants and loans from filing the FAFSA, institutional  scholarships, and private scholarships you have applied for separately. By confirming with the financial aid office at your chosen college, you will be able to confirm what your true total for school is. If you have questions don’t be afraid to ask your financial aid experts on campus!

For students who still haven’t decided, there is still time. The most important thing for you to do is file the FAFSA. Every year there are billions of dollars that go unclaimed by students that could earn financial aid but missed out because they did not file the FAFSA. If you have not applied to schools there is a chance you will still qualify for automatic scholarships they provide for academics. If there is a school you are interest in, reach out to their admissions office and they will fill you in on the steps you need to take. Find free help completing your FAFSA this summer at one of several events throughout Missouri.

2. Register for your Orientation

Students Walking down a Campus Hallway

After graduation, your college orientation will be the biggest day before you begin classes. You and thousands of fellow 

students will flood campus during the summer to get your plans finalized. Most orientations include meeting faculty in your major, setting up your course schedule, and confirming your housing. Orientation day offers you a chance to meet fellow freshmen for the first time and it is designed to be fun! Make sure you check out your school’s website and select an orientation date that works for you and your parents.

If you are still not decided, use this time to go on a college visit. A lot can change between the start and end of your senior year, so going to a campus with new perspective is vital.

3. Celebrate your Success!

A group of graduates celebrating their success.

The final months of senior year were like a whirlwind with spring sports ending, taking finals, and graduating. Take time to celebrate yourself! You are about to take part in one of the biggest changes of your life. That is something to be excited about. The more you can appreciate what it took to get to campus, the more invested you will be in your success while there.

For those who haven’t decided yet, don’t get down on yourself! All paths are not the same. In fact, most people go through ups and downs including changing majors or even schools. Remember that you have accomplished just as much by graduating high school and that your future is bright! Do not be afraid to ask for help while figuring out what’s next.