Applying for Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Information


Updated February 12, 2024


General Information

Every year students and families must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate aid year in order to be considered for federal (and some state) financial aid, including student loans.

2023-2024 - The 2023-2024 FAFSA is currently available. This is used for students attending fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024.

2024-2025 - The 2024-2025 FAFSA is currently available. This is used for students attending fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025. View FAFSA pro tips as assistance while completing the FAFSA. The Department of Education is still working through technical issues with the FAFSA. If you run into issues while filing the FAFSA, please contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243. If you need to make a correction to your already completed FAFSA, you will need to wait until the Department of Education begins processing FAFSAs (mid-March). 

Priority Deadline - Because of the overhaul of the FAFSA, all 24/25 FAFSAs filed by March 15, 2024 will be considered equally. Starting March 16, 2024, need-based aid will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


Before Filing The 24/25 FAFSA make sure to complete the following:

  • FSA ID - Student
    • If you already completed the 23/24 FAFSA you already have an FSA ID. Make sure you know the ID and password.
  • FSA ID - Contributor
    • Make sure anyone who will be listed on FAFSA (parent, parent’s spouse, your spouse if married) has an FSA ID and password. If they don't, have them apply now as it can take up to 3 days before it is ready to be used during FAFSA completion.


What Isn't Changing With the FAFSA

  • The types of financial aid available are not changing.
  • The FAFSA must still be completed every year.


What's Changing With The FAFSA

    Normally the FAFSA becomes available October 1st each year, but the 24/25 FAFSA did not open until December 31, 2023. The 25/26 FAFSA will be open on October 1, 2024.

    The FAFSA will feature fewer questions, fewer requirements, and retrieve tax information from the IRS.

    A contributor will be a new term for the 24/25 FAFSA. This refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student’s FAFSA (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student’s or parent’s answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.
    Contributors will receive an e-mail informing them that they’ve been identified as such, and will need to log in using their own FSA ID to provide the required information on the student’s FAFSA.
    Being a contributor does not mean they are financially responsible for the student’s education costs, but it does mean the contributor must provide information on the FAFSA or the application will be incomplete and the student will not be eligible for federal student aid.

    A notable terminology update within the 24/25 FASFA and beyond is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This new term more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

    For dependent students, financial information was previously needed from the parent(s) the student had lived with the most in the last 12 months. With the 24/25 FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student in the last 12 months.

    When required, families must now report the value of their small business or family farm. If the family farm includes the principal place of residence, applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets.

    Beginning with the 24/25 FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI due to the new regulations.

    These questions will have NO effect on financial aid eligibility and are asked for statistical purposes only. The answers to these questions will not be shared with any college.


Tips When Filing the FAFSA

    • 2023-2024 FAFSA for students attending fall 2023, spring 2024 or summer 2024
    • 2024-2025 FAFSA for students attending fall 2024, spring 2025, or summer 2025
    • 2023-2024 FAFSA uses the 2021 federal tax documents.
    • 2024-2025 FAFSA will use the 2022 federal tax documents.

    View FAFSA pro tips as assistance while completing the FAFSA. Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 800-433-3243 or online for assistance with filing the FAFSA (technical issues with FAFSA or FAFSA website, making changes to your FAFSA, Signing your FAFSA, FSA ID and password).

    Both student and parent/contributor need FSA ID.

    Make sure to list your name on your FAFSA exactly as it appears on your Social Security Card. Do not use nicknames, abbreviations, etc.

    The student must be a U.S. Citizen or documented, eligible non-citizen. Your parent does not need to be a citizen. You must be admitted to Winthrop University as a regular degree-seeking undergraduate student, a WinthropLIFE Student, or a graduate student seeking a degree or a certificate in Dietetic Internship or Counseling.

    Make sure you add Winthrop as a college to receive your FAFSA. 


What Happens Next

  • Submitting FAFSA to Winthrop University
    • The Office of Financial Aid will receive an electronic copy of your FAFSA approximately 2 weeks after you submit it. For 24/25, the Department of Education will not begin sending FAFSAs to colleges until mid March.
  • Additional Information
    • Once we receive the FAFSA, you may be requested to provide additional documentation. The Department of Education selects approximately 30 percent of all applicants for a verification process. This means the Office of Financial Aid must collect certain documents to confirm the accuracy of the information you provided on your FAFSA. You will receive an e-mail from us if you need to provide any further information. Requests for information for 24/25 FAFSA will be sent by early April 2024 for those who file their FAFSA by early March, and then on an ongoing basis as FAFSAs are received.
  • Financial Aid Offers
    • Once the FAFSA is complete and you are fully admitted to Winthrop, you will receive an e-mail notification directing you to Wingspan to view your financial aid offer (early April for incoming freshmen and transfer students and late June for returning students and graduate students). Spring 2024 admits will start seeing aid offers in Wingspan by early November. Summer 2024 admits will start seeing aid offers in Wingspan by late April (the Summer Aid Application is required before an aid offer can be made).

Disclaimer

Due to the significant amount of changes that are occurring in real time to the 24/25 FAFSA, portions of our website may not be 100% accurate for the 24/25 academic year. We’ll continue to update this page as we receive updated information from the Department of Education. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement all the changes brought by the FAFSA Simplification Act.