The 2024-25 FAFSA is available, due to a significant overhaul to the processes and systems used to apply for and offer financial aid. The changes initiated from the FAFSA Simplification Act are part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Families can use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to estimate how much federal student aid the student may be eligible to receive. These estimates are based on the Student Aid Index (SAI), an index to determine federal student aid eligibility:

Who needs to be on the FAFSA?
*If parents file taxes separately, each parent will need their own FSA ID*
*If parents file taxes jointly, only one parent needs to create an FSA ID*

For parents/step-parents who need to create an FSA ID: You cannot create an ID and do the application
on the same day! Make sure to register ahead of time so it is ready prior to completing the FAFSA to avoid

Per the US Department of Education's update on 3/25/24 regarding the 2024-2025 FAFSA processing timeline, the Department was on track to process the 6 million FAFSA backlog to schools by the end of March.

The FAFSA system at will begin allowing corrections to the FAFSA "in the first half of April''. This will allow families that have started their FAFSAs, but were unable to complete the application, to return to the FAFSA to finalize any outstanding steps. Once access to the correction process begins during the first half of April, we will notify students whose FAFSAs were incomplete to return to the FAFSA to be included in our subsequent FAFSA eligibility notifications. Please refer to this link if you need help making a correction to your FAFSA:

If all goes as planned, NMU hopes to begin awarding prospective students with a valid Student Aid Index (SAI) during the week of April 15th.

If these timelines change, we will update you again.

Impacts & Benefits

The FAFSA is getting a makeover with the hopes of making it even easier for students and their families to submit.

Not only will there be fewer questions on the FAFSA to answer, and fewer requirements overall, your tax information will be retrieved through a direct data exchange with the IRS.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) also estimates we should see an increase to the number of students eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant.

Image reads: "Better FAFSA, Better Future"


Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all users/contributors must have an FSA ID and password to fill out the FAFSA, even those without a Social Security Number (SSN).

However, those without a SSN cannot yet create an FSA ID. We expect this access to be available around the same time the FAFSA is released.

Processing your FSA ID can take up to 5 business days, so we recommend creating it at least a week before you start your FAFSA. You could even do it now!

What is an FSA ID?

  • An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Who needs an FSA ID? 

  • Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all contributors (student, student’s spouse, and/or parent) must have their own FSA ID.

How do I get an FSA ID?

What if I don't remember my FSA ID or am not sure if I have one? 

When should I create my FSA ID?

  • If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you can create it now! 

    In general, because it can take up to 5 business days, we recommend creating it at least a week before you start your FAFSA. Those without SSN’s will likely have to wait until December 2023 before the system is able to create their FSA IDs.

What's Changing?


A contributor refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent, or the parent’s spouse. Being a contributor does not imply responsibility for the student’s college costs.

  • You, the student, will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of your FAFSA.
  • Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of your FAFSA. They will only be able to see and complete their own specific sections of your FAFSA.
  • All Contributors must provide consent to have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. If consent is not provided by all parties, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In previous years, transferring IRS data was optional; moving forward, it’s required.


Which Parent To Use In Divorced/Separated Situations

If your parents are divorced or separated, the contributing parent(s) is the parent (and their spouse, if remarried) who provided the greater portion of your financial support during the 12 months immediately prior to filing the FAFSA.

It no longer will default to the parent you primarily lived with during the past 12 months.


Family Size And Number In College

The number of people in your family size will be automatically pulled in from your Federal Tax Information (FTI).

FAFSA Contributor (student and/or parent) is given the opportunity to manually update family size if it has changed since filing the tax return.

For dependent student’s parent(s), include: Parent (and their spouse); Student; Parent’s dependent children, even if they live apart from parent because of college enrollment, if parent will provide more than half their support between July 1 and June 30 of FAFSA award year; Other people if they live with parent and parent will provide more than half their support between July 1 and June 30 of FAFSA award year.

The number of family members in college will still be asked on the FAFSA, but it will be excluded from the federal, state, and institutional financial aid calculation.



Child Support Received 

The annual amount of child support received (i.e. in the last complete calendar year) should be included in the assets you report.

Small Business and Farm Assets

The net worth of any small business and/or farm must be included on the FAFSA, regardless of the number of employees. Remember, net worth = asset value minus asset debt.

Education Savings Accounts (i.e. 529 Plans)

For dependent students, these accounts will only be counted as a parental asset if the account is designated for the student.




The final figure calculated by the FAFSA® will no longer be called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Rather, it will be called the Student Aid Index (SAI) to more accurately describe how that number is used to determine financial aid eligibility. And, instead of a scale of 0 to 999,999, the SAI could be a negative number and the new scale is from -1,500 to 999,999.

Student Aid Report (SAR) > FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS)

Similarly, the Student Aid Report (SAR) which is the confirmation of what’s been submitted will now be referred to as the FAFSA® Submission Summary (FSS).


Unusual Circumstances

Otherwise dependent students who indicate that they have unusual circumstances that prevent them from providing parent data will no longer receive a rejected FASFA but will instead have their application processed with provisional independent status, a provisional SAI, and an estimate of federal student aid eligibility.

However, if you’re a student in this situation, you must still follow up with our office to make final determinations.

What's Not Changing?

Basic Eligibility

The FAFSA will continue to be made available on an annual basis for federal financial aid consideration and students must meet the eligibility requirements.

It is the only application Northern Michigan University uses for consideration of all sources of financial aid including federal, state, and institutional financial aid.


Dependency Status

The requirement that determines whether or not you, the student, are required to provide parent information on your FAFSA will remain the same. The FAFSA includes a series of questions and you must be able to answer ‘Yes’ to at least one question to be considered Independent for financial aid purposes. Read more»


Prior-Prior Year Tax Data

The FAFSA will use prior-prior tax data, which is two years old. For the 2024-2025 FAFSA, families will need to provide 2022 federal tax return information. 

If you or your family have experienced significant changes in income or have expenses that are not reflected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your special circumstances may be eligible for a professional judgment.

Details regarding the 24-25 FAFSA are still being released! Be sure to watch the Student Aid site and check back to this page for further information. You may also review updates through this page: