FAFSA Guidance

Have questions about the FAFSA?

An FSA ID created using a Social Security Number (SSN) will take around 1-3 days to be verified and ready to use to complete a FAFSA. We recommend creating it a few days before starting the FAFSA.

An FSA ID created without using an SSN will be immediately verified and ready to use to complete the FAFSA.

Contributor is a new term introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA. It refers to anyone asked to provide information on a FAFSA including:

the student
the student's spouse
the biological or adoptive parent(s)
the spouse of a remarried parent who is on the FAFSA (stepparent)

The student's answers on their section of the FAFSA will determine which contributors (such as parents or spouse) will be required to provide their information. An invitation will go out to these contributors once the following information is entered on the FAFSA:

  • Contributors name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Email address

Contributor receives an email informing them that they've been identified as a contributor by the student.
Contributor creates an FSA account if they don't already have one.
Contributor logs in to account using their FSA ID account username and password.
Contributor reviews information about completing their section of the FAFSA form.
Contributor provides the required personal and financial information on their own sections of the FAFSA form.

For the 2024-2025 FAFSA, 2022 tax information and earnings will be reported.

There are a few instances where the application will allow you to self-report if federal tax information cannot be accurately transferred through the Direct Data Exchange (DDX). Examples of when self-reporting is necessary:

  • Individuals who were married and filed jointly with the IRS in 2022 and are no longer married to that spouse, or who have married a different spouse.
  • Individuals with foreign income or who only file foreign tax returns, as the IRS does not link to foreign tax authorities. They will instead need to manually input their income and tax data by converting foreign currency to U.S. dollars and entering the resulting amounts in the comparable fields from U.S. tax returns, such as adjusted gross income, income tax paid, and any untaxed income.
  • Individuals with Foreign Earned Income Exclusion from IRS Form 2555 or 2555-EZ and reported on the 1040 tax return.

While manually entering tax information into the FAFSA is allowable in these situations, consent must still be provided.


The formula used to calculate a family's ability to pay for college and their resulting financial aid eligibility, formerly known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).

The new SAI formula will provide an updated eligibility calculation for Federal Pell Grants and will allow a minimum SAI of -1500, so that universities can better support students with the highest need.

The SAI calculation used to determine aid has the following changes from EFC:

  • The number of family members in college is no longer considered in the calculation, but it remains a required question on the form.
  • Child support received will now count as an asset.
  • Family farms and small businesses will now count as assets - with the net worth of businesses and farms of any size included.
  • Families with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) greater than $60,000 will be required to report asset information.