Niche Resources

Everything Students Need to Know About the 2024-25 FAFSA Delays 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA for short) allows you to request financial assistance from the government to pay for college. That includes aid such as student loans, grants, work-study and scholarships. Because the FAFSA has undergone several changes this year, there have been unexpected delays for both students and colleges.

The 2024-25 FAFSA was released to students on Dec. 30, 2023, three months later than its usual date of Oct. 1. Although the form is now available to complete, many students have been experiencing technical issues in the process. 

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education announced that colleges won’t be receiving student FAFSA forms until March. Usually, schools get this info right after you fill out the form! Because of this delay, it will take colleges more time to create financial aid packages for students. Many colleges are changing their decision deadlines to accommodate this extended timeline.

Our advice? Every student should complete their FAFSA form ASAP! If you’re a prospective student, reach out to your potential schools or check their websites to see if they’ve moved their FAFSA and decision deadlines. If you’re a current student, confirm the financial aid timeline at your school. All students should check financial aid deadlines for their home state and for any scholarships they’re applying for.

Check out our FAFSA FAQs below for more information about the 2024-25 FAFSA, what has changed and how that impacts prospective and current college students.




Q: How can I get help completing the FAFSA?
A: Contact your high school counselor or your college’s financial aid office. You can also call the Federal Student Aid office at 800-4-FED-AID. Assistance is available!

Q: Why are there delays in the FAFSA process this year?
A: There are a few reasons why this process is taking longer this year. First, the government created a new digital form, which took longer to roll out and has had some technical difficulties. Additionally, colleges are not receiving student FAFSA forms as quickly as usual, and they need it to create an accurate financial aid package for students.

Q: When was the new FAFSA form released?
A: The new FAFSA form was released to students on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023.

Q: What are the notable changes in the new FAFSA form?
A: Notable changes in the new FAFSA form include fewer questions than in previous years, the removal of the sibling discount and a modified calculation of affordability for wealthier and middle-income families. This year students also need to fill out multiple forms for federal and state aid in certain states. There is also a longer processing time for creating a Federal Student Aid ID and the implementation of a virtual waiting room to manage website traffic.

Q: How many questions does the new FAFSA form have?
A: The new FAFSA form now has only 36 questions, compared to the previous 108.

Q: Are more families now eligible for Pell grants?
A: Yes, more lower and moderate-income families are now eligible for Pell Grants. Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and do not need to be repaid

Q: When should the FAFSA be submitted to qualify for the most aid?
A: The FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible to qualify for the most aid.

Q: Is there a chance I won’t get federal aid if I haven’t submitted the form yet or had technical difficulties while trying to submit it?
A: Students or guardians facing FAFSA delays should complete the form promptly and remain in touch with school financial aid departments to ensure they meet school deadlines. Visit the FAFSA website to learn more about deadlines.  

Q: Will there be delays in receiving my financial aid award packages?
A: The Department of Education announced a delay in data transmission to schools until early March 2024. This will also delay the processing of financial aid forms by college offices. As a result, students and families may receive information about their college expenses for the upcoming fall semester up to a few months later. However, keep in mind that the Department of Education recently updated the Student Aid Index formulas to fix an error that did not account for inflation. That means they’ll be issuing more federal aid to college-bound students. 

Q: Are there alternative methods for completing the FAFSA aside from online? When should I consider using a different approach?
A: Absolutely! In addition to the online option, there is a paper version of the FAFSA available as an alternative. If you have priority financial aid deadlines approaching, you can opt for the PDF version of the FAFSA. It’s conveniently accessible in English and Spanish on Once you’ve filled it out, simply mail the form to the Federal Student Aid office. Don’t forget to double-check your financial aid deadlines to ensure a smooth process.

Q: How can prospective students check if the FAFSA and decision deadlines have changed?
A: Reach out to your potential schools and inquire about any updates regarding their FAFSA and decision deadlines. 

Q: What should current students do to ensure they are aware of the financial aid timeline at their prospective school?
A: Confirm the financial aid timeline by reaching out to your school’s financial aid office.

Q: What action should all students take regarding financial aid deadlines?
A: It is important for all students to check the financial aid deadlines for their home state as well as any scholarships they are applying for.