2024 FAFSA Resource Guide

Dear Neighbor,

Attaining a college degree is expensive and many students struggle to pay for higher education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the first step for students to get federal financial aid to help pay for college. Universities and career schools use the FAFSA form to determine how much financial aid students are eligible to receive, and students must apply for financial aid every year they attend school. 

The Department of Education launched an updated FAFSA form for the 2024-2025 school year in late December, but the rollout was riddled with challenges. My oldest child applied to college in the fall, so I personally experienced the delay and frustrations that came with the new FAFSA form. My office put together this guide to help answer frequently asked questions about the updated FAFSA. 

2024-2025 FAFSA Form - What You Need to Know

  • The 2024-2025 FAFSA form expands eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants. The updated FAFSA form includes fewer questions to determine aid eligibility and takes less time to complete than in previous years. 

  • If you have not already completed your FAFSA form for the upcoming school year, there is still time to do so. The Department of Education will begin processing FAFSA forms in March, so it is better to complete your FAFSA form as soon as possible.

  • Financial aid offers come directly from any schools you listed on the FAFSA form and have admitted you. These schools will send you a financial aid offer that includes the exact amount and types of aid that are available to you. 

Getting Your Federal Student Aid Eligibility Results

After your FAFSA submission is processed in March 2024, you will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary. This will only go to you, the student, not to your parents or spouse. The FAFSA Submission Summary will provide estimates of your eligibility for federal aid, including a Student Aid Index (SAI) number. While the SAI replaces the prior Expected Family Contribution, the SAI is not a dollar amount and does not reflect what you would pay to attend college. Colleges use the SAI number to determine your individual aid package. 

The FAFSA Submission Summary will give you useful information about the schools you are considering, including graduation rates, typical student loan debt, and the cost of attendance. This can help you decide where to enroll. Please read the FAFSA Submission Summary carefully because it will identify any required next steps, like making corrections or providing more information. Take these next steps quickly to maintain your aid eligibility. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should complete the FAFSA form?

  • Since 2022, California state law requires schools to verify that all high school seniors have completed a financial aid application or an opt-out form. 

  • Financial aid programs include grants, scholarships, work-study funds, and loans. 

How long will it take me to complete the FAFSA form?

  • The FAFSA form typically takes less than one hour to complete. You may be able to answer as few as 18 questions in less than 10 minutes. 

What information do I need to complete the FAFSA form?

  • You will need:

    • A verified account username and password (FSA ID) for;

    • Parent or spouse contributor name, date of birth, Social Security number, and email address; and

    • Income and asset information for you and your parents or spouse. 

When will my FAFSA form be processed?

  • The Department of Education will begin processing 2024-25 FAFSA forms during the first half of March 2024. 

  • If you have not already completed your FAFSA form for the upcoming school year, there is still time to do so, but complete the form as soon as possible. 

How will I know that my FAFSA form has been processed?

  • The Department of Education will send you an email when your FAFSA information has been sent to your selected schools and when you can access your FAFSA Submission Summary on

  • You can check the status of your FAFSA form on in the first half of March. 

When will I see my FAFSA Submission Summary?

  • Once you have completed your FAFSA form, you will see a confirmation page or section complete page right after you submit the FAFSA form online. 

  • Processing FAFSA forms will begin in the first half of March 2024. You should receive your FAFSA Submission Summary with estimates of aid eligibility beginning in late March. 

How can I view my FAFSA Submission Summary?

  • After your FAFSA form has been processed, you can view your FAFSA Submission Summary by logging into your account. 

Is my FAFSA Submission Summary the same as my financial aid offer?

  • No. The FAFSA Submission Summary may include information about your financial aid eligibility, but it is only an estimate. 

  • After you have been accepted for admission, each school listed on your FAFSA form will send you a financial aid offer that includes the exact amount and type of financial aid available to you.