The U.S. Department of Education announced that more than one million 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms have been submitted since the online form debuted at the end of 2023, and said the new form is now available around the clock for students and families.

The announcement comes after the agency soft launched the 2024–25 FAFSA form on December 30, 2023, when the form was available to students and families periodically while the department monitored website performance and form functionality in real time.

The Education Department said it initiated pauses for site maintenance and to make technical updates as needed to provide a better experience for students and their families. The form will now be continuously available except for routine maintenance – typical of any FAFSA cycle.

“Over one million students and families and counting have successfully filled out the ‘Better FAFSA,’ which is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said U.S. Secretary of Miguel Cardona.

“The fact that over a million students were able to complete the Better FAFSA during its brief soft launch period underscores our commitment to making applying for college financial aid simpler and easier than ever before,” he said. “With the Better FAFSA now live 24/7, we are moving the federal financial aid application into the 21st century and in the process, putting affordable higher education within the reach of 610,000 students from families with low incomes who will now be eligible for Pell Grants for the very first time.”

The Department of Education said the new FAFSA form provides a streamlined user experience for students and their families. With the new form, applicants only see relevant questions based on the answers they provide. The agency explained that applicants will be able to skip as many as 26 questions, depending on their individual circumstances. While the form is expected to take around an hour to complete on average for applicants, some applicants could answer as few as 18 questions in less than 10 minutes.

“We have heard from students and families that the new FAFSA form is a better experience that’s easier to complete,” said Federal Student Aid Chief Richard Cordray. “We recognize how important it is for students and families to get the information they need on to plan for the upcoming school year. We will continue to communicate directly with students, families, and schools about how they can access the maximum support available to them to pursue their higher education dreams.”

The 2024–25 FAFSA form also includes the ability to securely retrieve tax information directly from the IRS, which the Department of Education believes will improve the user experience and reduce time to complete. Students and their contributors (e.g., parents and spouses) must provide consent and approval to have their Federal tax information transferred directly into the 2024–25 FAFSA form via a secure, direct data exchange with the IRS.

The Department of Education noted that this “greatly simplifies” the process of accessing tax information for as many as four million additional students and families, particularly for families with low incomes who are not required to file tax returns to confirm such status.

Read More About
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs