The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the gateway for many students to federal, state and institutional financial aid programs, including grants, loans, work-study programs and scholarships. FAFSA assesses a student’s financial need and potentially reduces out-of-pocket costs, especially for lower income students. Submitting the FAFSA provides flexibility, as financial circumstances can change, and it ensures eligibility for aid programs with limited funds and specific deadlines. Moreover, it helps families understand college costs and plan their finances effectively.

If you’re in college or know a college student, you might already be familiar and waiting for the window to open. However, this year, the United States Department of Education has made some changes to the application, and it will not be open until December 2023, a departure from its usual Oct. 1 opening. This launch date only applies to this year.

The application will also include expanded eligibility for aid and a more streamlined application process. Instead of an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), students will receive a Student Aid Index (SAI) score, which, unlike the EFC, can be a negative number.

You can apply for the FAFSA when it opens at If you need help applying for the FAFSA or finding additional scholarship funding to help cover the cost of school, the Department of Education has Student Success Advisors who can help you navigate college. Set up an appointment through, email or call 405-695-6028.