JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Completing a 2024-25 FAFSA

New in 2024-25
Federal Student Aid Estimator
Completing the FAFSA
Critical Student Data to Determine MAP Eligibility
Federal Tax Information (FTI) Consent and Approval
FAFSA Output (FAFSA Submission Summary & ISIR)

New in 2024-25

The 2024-25 FAFSA became available in December 2023. 2022 income information is used with the 2024-25 FAFSA.

Changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA are outlined in Volume 1 – Summary of Changes of the 2024-25 FAFSA Specifications Guide. Among the most significant changes are:

  • The former Central Processing System (CPS) was modernized and transitioned to the FAFSA Processing System (FPS)
  • The FSA ID is required for the applicant and all contributors (which may include a Student Spouse, Parent, and/or Parent Spouse or Partner)
  • Under the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act (FUTURE Act), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – after receiving the consent and approval of the student (applicant) and all contributors – may disclose certain federal tax information to the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid (FSA)
  • Under the FAFSA Simplification Act:
    • the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI)
    • access to Federal Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans is expanded
    • the FAFSA form has been streamlined
    • the FAFSA form and FAFSA Submission Summary [formerly Student Aid Report (SAR)] have been redesigned
    • some user documentation has been reorganized into the FAFSA Specifications Guide and separated into volumes
  • The FAFSA Partner Portal has replaced FAA Access
    • FAAs working on a correction are required to complete the correction and submit it before exiting (the "Save" option has been removed)

Federal Student Aid Estimator

Students and parents can use the Federal Student Aid Estimator as a resource to help understand their options to pay for college or career school, as well as to obtain an early estimate of their SAI and the student's eligibility for federal student aid. The Federal Student Aid Estimator is for anyone who is not yet ready to file a FAFSA. A student does not have to be a high school senior to use the Federal Student Aid Estimator; in fact, the tool is recommended for juniors, and even as early as middle school.

Completing the FAFSA

The 2024-25 FAFSA has significant changes to the questions required throughout the form, and questions and form sections are in a different order than in prior years. The new organization is generally aligned between the online and paper/PDF versions of the form. The redesign is based on the five roles a user might play in the completion of the form:

  • Student (applicant)
  • Student Spouse (information contributor)
  • Parent (information contributor)
  • Parent Spouse or Partner (information contributor)
  • Preparer

Applicants can visit the Federal Student Aid website and click on the FAFSA Form tab to obtain detailed information about the application process and completing the FAFSA. Instructions for obtaining a paper/PDF FAFSA or applying electronically are also provided in this section. The Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) is another resource, and may be reached by calling 1.800.4FED AID. Applicants filing electronically can click on the "Help Center" link at the top of each Federal Student Aid website page to access answers to common questions, use the search feature, and to contact the FSAIC using the Live Help, e-mail or telephone options.

Remind students that, when completing the 2024-25 FAFSA (electronic or paper/PDF), they should:

  • gather all the suggested documents needed;
  • report a MAP-approved school as one of the college choices to be considered for a MAP grant;
  • follow all instructions and complete all questions; and
  • observe the federal and state deadlines.

The FPS reads paper/PDF FAFSAs electronically. To improve readability, applicants should review the "Fill Out the FAFSA Form" section on page 1 of the paper/PDF FAFSA. Make sure students are aware of the following:

  • if possible, complete the fillable PDF and then print and sign it; or
  • if completing a paper FAFSA:
    • use a pen with black ink;
    • for circle answer fields, choose only one response;
    • for square answer fields, choose all responses that apply;
    • print carefully in BLOCK CAPITAL letters and skip a box between words;
    • do not write "N/A" or margin notes;
    • do not leave anything blank;
    • report whole dollar amounts with no cents (i.e., round figures to the nearest dollar); and
    • if an answer is zero or a question does not apply, enter 0 (with no cents).

Critical Student Data to Determine MAP Eligibility

In addition to the FAFSA data elements that are required to determine a student's SAI, there are critical data elements that must be reported on the FAFSA to determine a student's eligibility for the MAP grant. The numbers referenced in parentheses are from the paper/PDF FAFSA. They are:

  • When the student begins the 2024-25 school year, what will their college grade level be? (#4)
  • When the student begins the 2024-25 school year, will they already have their first bachelor's degree? (#4) (answer must be no)
  • Student State of Legal Residence (#14)
  • Parent State of Legal Residence (#33)

Federal Tax Information (FTI) Consent and Approval

Each contributor must provide consent and approval for the retrieval and disclosure of their FTI for purposes of determining the applicant's eligibility for federal student aid. For the FAFSA form to be considered complete, all required contributors must complete and sign their respective sections. Logging into the online FAFSA form with an FSA ID and agreeing to the terms and conditions for the FAFSA form constitutes a contributor's signature. An incomplete application will not have an SAI calculated and the applicant will not be eligible for federal aid.

FAFSA Output (FAFSA Submission Summary & ISIR)

When a FAFSA is submitted, the processor analyzes the application information using a federal formula to calculate the SAI. An ISIR (i.e., results of the application) is sent to each college listed on the FAFSA. Students receive an electronic or paper FAFSA Submission Summary, depending on the type of FAFSA filed and whether the applicant's e-mail address was provided on the FAFSA.

For the 2024-25 academic year, the FAFSA Submission Summary lists all the Federal School Codes included on a student's application or correction for a specific transaction. Applicants have the option to enter, update, and view up to twenty college choices via the online FAFSA. On the paper FAFSA Submission Summary, up to twenty college choices might be listed, and an additional three choices can be added by the student. FAAs will see only their school information (Federal School Code) via the FAFSA Partner Portal (FPP) and Electronic Data Exchange (EDE). ISIRs received by State Agencies list all of the Federal School Codes selected by the applicant on each transaction.

  • A FAFSA Submission Summary e-mail is sent to the applicant within 3-5 days of processing an online FAFSA, or from the date a paper/PDF FAFSA is received, if the student provides an e-mail address – the summary provides an encrypted web address for the student to access and print their summary data; or
  • A FAFSA Submission Summary is mailed to all FAFSA applicants (online or paper/PDF) within three weeks if an e-mail address is not provided.

For more detailed information about each of the FAFSA Submission Summary output documents, refer to Volume 6 – ISIR Guide of the 2024-25 FAFSA Specifications Guide. There also are separate pages within this 2024-25 FAFSA Completion area that provide additional details about the FAFSA Submission Summary and FAFSA Corrections.