There is a lot of buzz around the changes of this year’s financial aid tool known as the FASFA. Please read through the following most frequently asked questions below. One of them includes information on upcoming workshops at Gainesville and other local places.

When will the FAFSA open?

Though there is no specified date for when it will open, financial aid experts are saying that it will be opening on December 31st.

Where do I apply when the application opens?

You can go to the link below to start the FAFSA when it opens. You will be completing the application for the 2024-2025 school year. Link to complete FAFSA: 

What are some of the changes to the FAFSA?

  • Questions reduced from 108 to 46
  • The Direct Data Exchange (DDX) is replacing the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The DDX will require students and both parents to give consent to pull your tax information directly from the IRS.
  • There is less emphasis on income but rather assets
  • Custodial parent definition has changed from the person that the student primarily lives with to the person who provides the most financial support
  • terminology change from parent(s) and student to contributors
  • 529 Plans held by non-custodial parents (grandparents, etc.) don't have to be reported
  • No questions about drug convictions
  • BIG CHANGE: Students will do their portion of the FAFSA and submit. The parents will receive an email to then do their portion of the FAFSA and submit. Once both parents submit their parts of the application the FAFSA is considered done. If the parents do not do their part within 45 days, the student's portion of the application will be deleted, and they will have to start over. Be sure your student has your correct email address.

There are more changes, but these are noteworthy.

What can I do now?

An FSA ID is needed by both the student and their parents (or guardians) in order to electronically sign the FAFSA. As mentioned above, both parents will need to sign the application this year so even if divorced, never married, separated, etc. both will need FSA IDs. Sometimes it takes a couple days to receive the official FSA ID so don't delay in creating one until the FAFSA application opens. Create yours today!

If you already have an FSA ID from previous years, you can use the same one.; there is no need to make a new ID.

Create FSA ID by clicking link and go to “Create an Account”: 

I make too much money, is it necessary for me to complete the FAFSA?

YES! There are two types of scholarships that colleges offer, need based and merit based. In order for a student to be awarded a merit-based scholarship, the two- or four-year school must have that student’s FAFSA information. There are also grants, like the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant, that can be awarded to help offset the cost of tuition but cannot be granted without the student’s FAFSA information.

Not completing the FAFSA leaves you or your student in a position to have to pay the full sticker price of the institution they attend. PLEASE DO THE FAFSA!

What do I do if I am not eligible for the FAFSA?

For students who are not eligible for the FAFSA, you will need to complete the Virginia Alternative State Aid Application (VASA). You can check your eligibility here.

The VASA will open when the FAFSA is made available. You can complete the VASA, when it opens, by going here: 

Where can I get help to complete the FASFA or VASA once it opens?

The following are scheduled in person workshops to help students and families with completing either the VASA or FASFA. If you will be attending to complete the FASFA be sure to have your FSA ID prior to coming to the event.

FAFSA & VASA Help Workshops