Financial aid applications for the 2024-25 academic year will open later this year.
Applications typically open in October for students wanting to start college the next fall but improvements to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process have caused a slight delay in the application’s availability.
The FAFSA Simplification Act significantly changes how eligibility for federal student aid is determined. FAFSA’s new Student Aid Index is intended to reflect students’ costs and financial need more accurately. The U.S. Dept. of Education predicts that more people will be eligible for Pell Grants and that the average Pell award amount will increase. Pell Grants provide low-income undergraduate students with money for college that, unlike student loans, doesn’t have to be paid back.
The new law also aims to make the FAFSA application shorter and less complex. Fewer questions will be on the form, and people filling out the form will only see and respond to questions relevant to their specific role — for example, as a student or as a parent. With a direct connection to the IRS, families won’t need to enter income information manually; but tax filing isn’t required, so non-filers can still apply.
In Washington, there are two ways to apply for financial aid. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens apply for federal and state aid with the FAFSA. This year, a family of four making up to $112,500 can qualify for grant aid in Washington. People who can’t file the FAFSA due to immigration status can apply only for state aid with the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).
This year’s WASFA will open when the FAFSA does, and because it’s based on the FAFSA, it will also be shorter and more simple.
In the meantime, each individual (parents, guardians and/or students) who will contribute to completing the FAFSA for 2024-25 will need to create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID), with separate FSA IDs for students and their parent(s) or guardian(s). Similarly, WASFA applicants must register for a WASFA account.
Then, come December, students will be able to submit their financial aid applications for 2024-25.