The new, redesigned FAFSA is finally live. For the first time since 2016, the FAFSA didn’t open Oct. 1 but soft launched in late December, with long waits for access between planned service interruptions as the Education Department fine tunes the new form and process. If this is your first time, start by creating your FSA ID, which can take 1-3 days. For the new 2024-25 FAFSA, every student — along with parents, spouses or other required contributors — needs their own.
Another key change this year: the Education Department says it will not send along FAFSA eligibility information to colleges and states until late January, no matter when you submit the form before then. Read on for additional guidance from NerdWallet’s higher education team.