FAFSA Deadlines Rundown for 2024-25

Each year, the FAFSA helps millions of students get aid for college. Learn when FAFSA deadlines are and what changes to expect for 2024-25 and beyond.
portrait of Tyler Epps
Tyler Epps
Read Full Bio

Editor & Writer

Tyler Epps is an editor for BestColleges. He writes and edits content about higher education, specializing in degree planning and college rankings. He is passionate about helping students prepare for college and navigate their educational journey. He...
portrait of Whitney Sandoval
Whitney Sandoval
Read Full Bio

Contributing Writer

Whitney Sandoval is a writer and educator who is passionate about accessibility, inclusion, and equity in education. Her work has also appeared in Healthline, What to Expect, and other parenting publications. Whitney earned a bachelor's degree in Eng...
portrait of Matthew Arrojas
Matthew Arrojas
Read Full Bio


Matthew Arrojas is a news reporter at BestColleges covering higher education issues and policy. He previously worked as the hospitality and tourism news reporter at the South Florida Business Journal. He also covered higher education policy issues as...
Updated on January 8, 2024
Edited by
portrait of Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas
Read Full Bio


Kelly Thomas has worked as an editor with BestColleges specializing in alternative education. She covers topics like coding bootcamps and the tech industry, as well as skilled trades and certifications. She holds a BA in political science from the Un...
Reviewed by
portrait of R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss
Read Full Bio

Reviewer & Writer

R.J. Weiss is a certified financial planner who has worked with clients planning investments, insurance, income taxes, and retirement. Weiss is CEO of financial education company The Ways To Wealth, which teaches financial planning fundamentals to hu...
Learn more about our editorial process

  • The FAFSA for the 2024-25 school year opened Dec. 30, 2023.
  • States and schools maintain their own FAFSA deadlines — check your school's website.
  • The 2024-25 FAFSA includes several major changes.

The window to fill out the latest Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, opened Dec. 30, 2023

Students seeking federal financial aid have until June 30, 2025 — around a year and a half after the FAFSA open date — to submit the form. Those who fail to file before the end of June will be ineligible to receive federal, state, and institutional aid for that FAFSA's academic year.

In addition to the federal deadline, students should be aware of state and institutional deadlines. States and schools run their own financial aid programs, which usually have deadlines much earlier than June 30.

With multiple deadlines to keep track of, it can be challenging to navigate the U.S. financial aid system. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know in order to submit the FAFSA on time and increase your chances of receiving aid for the 2024-25 school year.

When Is the Federal FAFSA Deadline?

The 2024-25 FAFSA form opened Dec. 30, 2023, and will be available until June 30, 2025. This means that students who need financial aid for the upcoming 2023-24 school year can begin filling out the FAFSA now and will have all the way until summer 2025 to submit it (though the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better).

Students must submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal student loans, the Pell Grant, and other college and state-issued grants and scholarships. The same applies to college students who plan to apply for federal work-study.

When Are Institutional and State FAFSA Deadlines?

Institutional deadlines vary from school to school but typically come well before federal deadlines. Some colleges and universities offer financial aid on a rolling basis, meaning the earlier you apply, the better your chance of receiving a sizable award package.

If you're considering multiple colleges, check each school's FAFSA deadline (if it has one) and apply by the earliest deadline. Most schools list this information on their financial aid site.

Like schools, each state sets its own FAFSA deadline. These dates are usually early in the spring semester, but that doesn't mean you should wait until then to submit your application. Many states have limited funds and only offer grants, scholarships, and other types of aid until they run out.

The 2024-25 FAFSA launched later than usual due to the rollout of a new, simplified form. Federal Student Aid told colleges and universities it won’t share student data with financial aid offices until late January 2024, so standard deadlines may be delayed for some schools and states.

Still, in cases where state or institutional aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, students should submit their FAFSA as early as possible to maximize their chances of receiving aid.

3 Key Changes to the FAFSA

The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in December 2020 and included several major student aid provisions. The legislation is designed to make higher education more accessible and affordable for underrepresented students and students of color.

All changes are now in place for the 2024-25 FAFSA.

Here are three key changes to be aware of.

1. The FAFSA Is Now Shorter and More User-Friendly

Over the last decade, advocates of FAFSA simplification have made strong efforts to reduce the number of questions required to complete the application.

The FAFSA previously contained 108 questions, which many argued deterred students and families from completing the application and receiving the aid for which they qualified.

Starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA, the maximum number of questions will be fewer than 50. Depending on circumstances, some applicants may see as few as 36 questions, and it could take as little as 10 minutes to complete.

You'll now see, however, an additional demographic survey that contains questions on gender, race, and ethnicity. These demographic questions are a required part of the FAFSA beginning with the 2024-25 academic year cycle.

2. Expected Family Contribution Renamed Student Aid Index

If these terms confuse you, you're not alone.

Past FAFSA filers saw a section titled Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on their Student Aid Report. The EFC helps schools determine how much financial aid a student is eligible to receive. But due to the misleading name, many families assume the EFC is what they're expected to pay for college.

By renaming the EFC to Student Aid Index (SAI) in October 2023, the FAFSA makes it clearer that the number a family sees after filing is not the amount they're required to pay for college; rather, it's an indicator of their financial need.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act also makes it possible for a student's SAI to be negative, which can help schools better identify students who require the most financial assistance.

3. Pell Grant Eligibility Will Expand, and the Max Award Will Increase

Perhaps the most significant changes under the act are those made to the federal Pell Grant. Unlike loans, this type of grant doesn't need to be paid back and is normally reserved for undergraduates with the highest demonstrated need.

Under the new act, the Pell Grant will expand to more students and link eligibility to both family size and the federal poverty level. For the 2023-24 school year, students could receive a maximum Pell Grant of $7,395, up from $6,895 in 2022-23.

The act should expand Pell Grant eligibility to approximately 2.1 million students ineligible under the previous formula, including incarcerated students and those convicted of drug-related offenses. Federal Pell Grant lifetime eligibility will also be restored to students whose schools closed while they were enrolled or whose schools were found to have misled them.

Frequently Asked Questions About the FAFSA

Is there an age limit for the FAFSA?

FAFSA does not have an age limit. Whether you're 18 or 88, you are encouraged to apply for FAFSA. Nearly all applicants are eligible for some type of financial assistance.

Does parents’ income affect the FAFSA?

If you are considered a dependent student, your parents' income helps determine your FAFSA award. You are a dependent student under FAFSA if you:

  • are under 24 years old;
  • are not married;
  • do not claim any children or dependents; or,
  • are not an orphan or legally emancipated from your parents.

How is FAFSA money paid?

Typically, FAFSA is determined for the academic year, and aid is distributed once per term. If you are at a school that uses trimesters, you may receive your FAFSA money in three chunks. If you are at a school with a semester system, you may receive your money twice a year.

FAFSA is usually applied to your tuition and fees through your college first. Any additional money may be dispersed to you through direct deposit or a check.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute professional financial advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Readers of this website should contact a professional advisor before making decisions about financial issues.