A step-by-step guide to completing the 2024-25 FAFSA® questions

Looking for FAFSA® help? Our guide walks you through all the FAFSA® questions to help you answer correctly so you can maximize your financial aid for college.

Why the FAFSA® is important (Like really, really important)

Filing the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is your key to getting all kinds of financial aid for school—we’re talking federal, state, and school aid. If you want to qualify for the most free money you can, and pay less out of your own pocket for school, you need to file the FAFSA®. Nearly everyone who submits the FAFSA® qualifies for some aid.

Why FAFSA is important?

What the FAFSA® is used for

The schools where you get accepted will look at info from your FAFSA® and use it to put together your financial aid package for one year. Your package may include college grants, work-study, federal student loans, and even state and school financial aid.

Your financial aid package can help you cover college costs:
  • Tuition 
  • Fees
  • Housing and meals
  • Books 
  • A laptop and other tech you may need for school
  • Transportation to and from school

The 2024-25 FAFSA® is getting a major makeover

Great news! The FAFSA® will be simpler and shorter, with way fewer questions to answer. You can even have your tax return info imported right from the IRS, saving you even more time.

There’s also an important date change:

The FAFSA® 2024-25 application open has been delayed from October 1 to December 2023. After the 2024-25 application, the FAFSA® will go back to opening on October 1.

Some college money is awarded first-come, first-served, so be sure to file the FAFSA® as soon as it opens in December! See all FAFSA® deadlines on studentaid.gov

Read our blog post for more details on the 2024-25 FAFSA® changes.

The 2024-25 FAFSA is getting a makeover.

How to answer the 2024-25 FAFSA® questions

Completing the FAFSA® can seem overwhelming, especially for newbies. That’s why we’ve broken down the 2024-25 FAFSA® to help you understand why each question is asked, and how to answer each one accurately.

Need expert help with a question?
Call FAFSA® support at 800-433-3243 (800-730-8913 TDD). You may also want to talk to a financial or legal professional.

Before applying for financial aid with FAFSA®, go after free money

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  • A new winner is drawn each month
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*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Ends December 31, 2024. See Official Rules.

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey, financial, tax, or legal advice. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances.

footnote FAFSA® is a registered service mark of U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid.

footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.