Update on FAFSA Soft Launch

FAFSA Soft Launch

This blog post is a follow-up to our previous detailed article, “FAFSA will be Available 12/31 with some Caveats“.  As stated, students and families can complete and submit the 2024-2025 FAFSA form online by December 31st.   The period leading up to and following December 31st will be considered a soft launching period where potential issues will be monitored.

Although the FAFSA will be available, the Department of ED has stated there is no need to rush to fill out the form immediately during this soft launch period as improvements will be made to the process.  Planned pauses for maintenance and possible experience improvement to the site may occur during this soft launch.  Families must recognize that the FSA will not transmit the information to schools until late January.

Quick List for FAFSA Launch

Listed below is a quick list of students, families, and schools can expect during the soft launch:

  • Contributors can go to StudentAid.gov to create an account.  Once created, you can access and complete the online FAFSA form.  (Contributors are the student, parent, student’s spouse, or parent’s spouse).  For those contributors who already have a verified account username and password, they will use their existing credentials to sign in and access the form.
  • Planned pauses during the soft launch may cause new users not to be able to begin or resume work on their 2024-2024 FAFSA form.  The Department of ED states this should be temporary, and families should keep checking the site.
  • Within the new process, there is a waiting room feature geared to help control website volumes.
  • Students who complete their form during the soft launch period will have their information stored and only need to resubmit after this soft launch ends.
  • As stated, if the site is unavailable and only the student has completed the FAFSA form, the contributor can complete the form once the site is up again.  Data stays in the system.
  • The student will receive an email confirmation once the FAFSA form is completed and submitted.  This email lists their submission date, estimated Student Aid Index (SAI), and Federal Pell Grant eligibility.
  • Important Note: The FAFSA Submission Summary will be sent to the student once the FSA processes the FAFSA, which is projected to happen in late January.

Families will have the opportunity to get updated details on the FAFSA launch by going to StudentAid.gov.  The FSA will be updating its messaging to students and families. As you go through the process you may experience problems or delays and the best thing to do is to keep checking the site.  You can also go directly to the FSA to ask any questions.  The StudentAid.gov has a FSA virtual assistant “Ask Aidan” where families can submit questions or you can call customer service.  I expect delays if you are calling.

We also recommend that families research their state deadlines and processes for the 2024-25 application.  There are changes.  Students who are legal residents of Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont will have an extra step.  Previously, their FAFSA information was transferred directly into their state aid application.  In contrast, now it will be necessary to go to a state-approved URL to complete their state’s application separately.  Students from Minnesota will also need to find out how to complete their state application, as it will not be transferred as in the past.

As students and families go through this process, PayForED is a valuable resource to gain additional college funding  information. if you need help the FSA has a FAFSA video guide to walk you through the process. We also have trained professionals on our site if additional help is needed.

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