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FAFSA Simplification

Welcome to your hub for all things FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) simplification. Navigating the financial aid process this year with the many updates can be challenging, but we're here to guide you. On this page you can learn more about the FAFSA changes and stay informed in the overall financial aid process timeline.

FAFSA workshop

Need help filing your FAFSA? No problem, we are here to help! We will be hosting two FAFSA drop-in workshops on campus that is open to all students, faculty, and staff on March 14th and March 15th from 2-4pm at the EHS 131 computer labNo registration required. Come prepared with your FSA ID and parent information.

FAFSA updates

2024-25 FAFSA Update (announcement made on January 30, 2024): FAFSAs currently submitted will not begin to be processed until the first half of March. With this announcement from the Department of Education comes some key points as it relates to your FAFSA:

  • Institutions will not receive FAFSA information until it is processed.
  • Students cannot make changes or corrections to the FAFSA until it is processed. 
  • Students will not know if there are errors or further documentation is needed until the FAFSA is processed. We will notify you at that time by email if we need additional documentation.
  • Once the FAFSA fully processes, the student will receive an email and instructions of how to access their FAFSA submission summary (FSS) at
  • All students that have filed their FAFSA will begin to receive their financial aid offer notification later this spring. Make sure to file your FAFSA now!

Updated as of 2/27/2024.

Read below to learn more about how your financial aid timeline may be impacted due to the FAFSA delays and the steps you can take to move forward through the process.

Financial aid process

Current students

With the delays of the FAFSA, our current students will not begin to receive their financial aid offer until later this spring. However, there are critical steps current students can take right now:

  1. File your 2024-25 FAFSA! CMU's school code is 002243.
  2. Keep planning! Current students should still meet with your advisor, plan for the upcoming academic year, and register for courses when your registration opens.
  3. Apply for scholarships. CMU has a variety of scholarship opportunities: Scholarship Universe | Central Michigan University (
  4. Keep your eye on your email address. When your financial aid offer notification is ready to be viewed in your new financial aid portal later this spring, you will receive an email in your CMICH email account with next steps.

Prospective undergrad main campus students

Students in the Fall 2024 entering class are experiencing changing timelines due to the launch of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year. With the goal of being as helpful and transparent as possible, we have created the 2024 Financial Aid Updates page to provide up-to-date information on the latest changes and items you need to know to help with your college search process.

2024 Financial Aid Updates

Prospective CMU Online students

Entering CMU Online students that have filed their FAFSA will begin to receive their financial aid offer later this spring. Once your financial aid offer is ready, we will send an email to your email account with a link to your financial aid portal for review. There are critical steps you can take right now while you wait:

  1. Make sure to file your 2024-25 FAFSA! CMU's school code is 002243.
  2. Register for courses! Plan for the upcoming academic year and register for courses.
  3. Apply for scholarships. CMU has a variety of scholarship opportunities: Scholarship Universe | Central Michigan University (
  4. For our students 24+ years of age, watch a recorded webinar and learn more about the FAFSA process with screenshots from the form! 

FAFSA simplification 101

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2024-25 academic year opened in December 2023. With the delay in the FAFSA, many exciting updates were implemented to improve and streamline your financial aid process.

The FAFSA Simplification Act passed on Dec. 27, 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and represents a significant overhaul of federal student aid, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, need analysis, and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in the Title IV programs. 


Key changes

  • The 2024-25 FAFSA will open in December 2023 instead of October 1. However, for 2025-26 and beyond, we will return to the October 1 open date.
  • Streamlined and more user-friendly FAFSA now with fewer questions. Going from over 100 questions down to just 36!
  • Expanded aid eligibility due to larger income protection allowances.
  • IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) makes entering tax information easier and will require students, spouses, and parents to transfer their 2022 tax information or non-filing status.
  • Number in college will no longer factor into the FAFSA calculation (although it is still asked).
  • Untaxed items such as payments to tax-deferred retirement or pension plans, veteran’s non-educational benefits, and worker’s compensation will no longer be required.
  • Parent assets will now include all businesses' net worth and a family farm's net worth, if applicable.
  • Divorced or separated parent changes – the parent who provided the most financial support to the student will need to provide their information. Previously, the parent whom the student lived with the most provided their information.

Terms to know

  • FAFSA data calculate Student Aid Index (SAI) and will determine eligibility for student aid. This replaces the EFC that was used in previous years.
  • Contributor: a parent, step-parent, student, or spouse of the student providing information to the FAFSA. 
  • Consent: required from all contributors for the IRS to share tax data directly to the FAFSA. Not providing consent will automatically make the student ineligible for aid.
  • Direct Data Exchange (DDX): previously known as IRS Data Retrieval, this tool imports tax data directly from the IRS to your FAFSA.
  • FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS): a summary of your completed FAFSA information. This replaces the Student Aid Report (SAR) that was used in previous years.

Ways to prepare

  • FSA ID
    A Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID is required for all contributors, including the student. Apply for your FSA ID now!
  • Determine your contributors, if applicable. The FAFSA will also offer assistance when filing.
    The student is a contributor. A contributor may also be a:
    • Parent
    • Step-parent
    • Spouse of student
  • 2022 Federal Tax Information and W-2s
    All contributors will need this information, if applicable
  • CMU Federal School Code: 002243


  • When will the 2024-25 FAFSA become available?
    The US Department of Education has not determined an exact date but announced that it will become available sometime in December 2023. Don't worry; we will email you when it becomes available!
  • What semesters are covered by my 2024-25 FAFSA?
    Fall 2024, Spring 2025 and Summer 2025
  • When is the priority 2024-25 FAFSA filing deadline for CMU?
    June 1, 2024
  • Is a contributor required to have an FSA ID?
    Yes, all contributors must have an FSA ID. 
  • My parents are divorced or separated. Which parent is a contributor for my FAFSA?
    The parent who provides the most financial support to the student should be the contributor on the FAFSA.
  • Do the invitations to contributors to provide federal tax information and consent expire?
    Yes. Invitations to be contributors will be deleted when they have been inactive for 45 days. Any previously entered information will be deleted and the process must start over.
  • How can I be considered an independent student?
    An independent student is one of the following: born before Jan. 1, 2001, married (and not separated), a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, a person with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor, a person who is unaccompanied and homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

The CMU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is working to provide accurate and timely updates related to the 2024-25 FAFSA. Due to the significant changes occurring, our website may change as updates are received from the Department of Education and Federal Student Aid for the 2024-2025 academic year. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.

FAFSA simplification presentation