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New, Streamlined FAFSA® Available Dec. 31: What Families Should Do Now to Get Prepared and Why Filing As Soon As Possible Is So Important


Almost 30% of College-Going Families Skipped The FAFSA ® Last Year, Potentially Missing Out on Grants, Scholarships, and Federal Financial Aid

Sallie Mae Introduces Free, Step-by-Step Guide to Help More Families Complete the FAFSA ®

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the gateway to accessing more than $100 billion in grants, scholarships, and federal financial aid for higher education, and a new, streamlined application will be available on Dec. 31. Now is the time for families to get prepared to complete this all-important form, and Sallie Mae has a free, step-by-step guide to help families get in line for free money for higher education.

“Submitting the FAFSA® on, or as close to Dec. 31 is critical since some aid is provided on a first-come first-served basis,” said Rick Castellano, vice president, Sallie Mae. “The good news is the streamlined FAFSA has fewer questions and should expand Pell Grant eligibility for those students and families who need the most support.”

Roughly 30% of families reported skipping the FAFSA last year. Among the main reasons for not completing, families believed their income was too high to qualify for aid, (29%), the application was complicated and confusing (20%), and they did have the correct information to complete the form (19%).

In addition to fewer questions and expanding eligibility for federal financial aid, the new FAFSA will offer an updated user experience, including role-based questions specific for students and parents, and a simpler process to submit financial information through IRS data. The number of family members in college is no longer factored into the federal formula, however, which could impact those students who have siblings in college at the same time.

Sallie Mae offers the following tips from its new, free FAFSA® resource to help families prepare and complete the updated form with confidence:

  • Do your homework before you file — While the new FAFSA® form should be easier to complete this year, families will still need to prepare ahead of time. Students need a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, and unlike previous years, they can no longer start the FAFSA® without already having it. Students should make an ID at least 3-5 business days before they plan to apply.
  • Check additional deadlines — Many states and colleges set priority deadlines to submit the FAFSA® to be considered for aid. Families can check deadlines for each state and school.
  • Don’t assume you won’t qualify for aid — Just about every student and family qualifies for some form of aid. There are also a wide-variety of available scholarships. In addition to completing the FAFSA, free resources like Scholly by Sallie can help families maximize as much free money as possible.
  • Remember to file each year — FAFSA® applications should be completed every year in school. Students should save and file their FSA ID and set a reminder for when it’s time to file again.
  • Never pay to fill out the FAFSA® — Filing is free, period. There are also a variety of free resources to help student and families complete the FAFSA.

For more tips on completing the 2024-25 FAFSA®, visit:

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, help people achieve great things. As the leader in private student lending, we provide financing and know-how to support access to college and offer products and resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond college, happen. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Category: Corporate and Financial

Category: Financial Literacy

Category: Student Loans

Caron Jackson

Source: Sallie Mae

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