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.
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 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.
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.