Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)

The Federal Student Aid process looks different this year. Learn more about what has changed and how it will affect you.

Do You Have Your FSA ID?

If you have never completed a FAFSA, your first step is to create an FSA ID ( username and password). 

The Department of Education (Dept. of Ed) can take up to 3 days to process an FSA ID. Plan to complete this process first. You will need the FSA ID to sign your FAFSA electronically. 

Who needs an FSA ID?

In addition to yourself, the FAFSA may determine that you have contributors(parents, guardians, spouses) to include. Each contributor will also need to create their own FSA ID. 

Get Help With Your FSA ID.

Create your FSA ID/Account

If you have never completed the FAFSA before, you will need to create a FSA ID.

Get Your FSA ID

Start your 2024-25 FAFSA

If you already have an FSA ID ( account username and password), you are ready to start your FAFSA. Keep in mind, that contributors are now required to have their own FSA ID. Learn more about contributors.

Start Your FAFSA

Helpful Tips for completing the FAFSA

Was your FAFSA form rejected?

TCC Financial Aid Advisors are here to help you correct and resubmit it. Common mistakes include not reporting parent details, entering incorrect tax information, or leaving out answers to required questions. Our advisors will ensure you have all the correct information and documentation before you resubmit.

Meet With an Advisor For Help

Get Help Completing Your FAFSA

Are you stuck or have questions about your unique situation? TCC Financial Aid Advisors are here to answer questions and help you complete your application. 

Join our virtual waiting room and a TCC Finacial Aid team member will assist you.


Financial Aid Virtual Support

What is Changing & Why?

In 2020, Congress passed three laws that included important changes for Federal Student Aid, the FUTURE Act, FAFSA Simplification Act, and FAFSA Simplification Technical Corrections Act. These changes affect things like the FAFSA form and how schools decide who qualifies for Federal Student Aid, including the Pell Grant.

If you filled out the 2024-2025 FAFSA since it opened on January 1, 2024, you might have noticed some big differences in the form. There are fewer questions, and now there are separate parts for student questions and parent or spouse questions (if needed). They also introduced a new process called IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX), and there are new terms like SAI and Contributors.

These changes don't just affect the FAFSA form; they also impact how schools, including TCC, process financial aid. Because of these significant changes, we expect delays in our usual timeline for processing financial aid for the 2024-25 FAFSA.

2024-25 FAFSA® Changes

Here are a list of the changes coming to the FAFSA.

The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students will not even be presented with all 46 questions. This streamlined format will simplify the application process and make it less daunting for students and their families.

Previously, the FAFSA only allowed students to list up to 10 colleges and universities.

Currently, the FAFSA is only available in English and Spanish. The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents.

Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (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 email informing them that they have been identified as such and will need to log in using their own FSA ID (if they do not already have one) 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.

Starting with the 2024-2025 school year (Fall 2024, Spring 2025, & Summer 2025), students and families will see a different measure of how their financial aid eligibility is calculated. The Student Aid Index (SAI) is a new formula that considers some new factors:

  • Removes the number of family members in college from the calculation
  • Allows a negative SAI which increases likelihood of more Federal and State funding
  • Overhauls the criteria for Federal Pell Grant eligibility so that more students may qualify for it

Previously, the FAFSA calculated the number of household members attending college into the EFC, dividing it proportionately to determine federal aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2024-25

FAFSA, the application will still ask how many household members are in college, but your answer will not be calculated into the SAI. As such, TCC students with siblings in college may see a change in their federal aid eligibility.

The FAFSA Simplification Act will expand the Federal Pell Grant to more students and will link eligibility to family size and the Federal poverty level (Starting with the 2024–25 school year) 

Incarcerated students in Federal and State penal facilities will regain the ability to receive a Pell Grant (Starting with the 2023–24 award year)

Pell Grant lifetime eligibility will be restored to students whose schools closed while they were enrolled or if the school is found to have misled the student (Starting with the 2023–24 award year)

Some students will automatically be awarded a Pell Grant. Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant award. 

Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.

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 new FAFSA, financial information will be required from the parent(s) who provided the most financial support to the student.

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.

While the FAFSA is receiving an update and the aid eligibility calculation has been revised, there are many aid-related matters that will not change.

  • For TCC students, eligibility for most types of aid will continue to be determined by the the FAFSA.
  • The general types of aid available to TCC students, lifetime Pell limits and federal student loan limits will not change.
  • The new FAFSA will still be required to apply for all federal aid and most types of state and institutional financial aid every academic year. All current and prospective students should submit the 2024-25 FAFSA as soon as possible. Starting October 1, 2024, the 2025-26 FAFSA will be released, and all subsequent FAFSA’s should be released on time, on October 1 each year.
  • Dependency status questions that determine if your parent(s) must complete the FAFSA will remain the same.
  • The FAFSA will still use tax information from the prior-prior year, which means you will report 2022 income on your 2024-25 FAFSA application. Families with significant reductions in income should consider speaking to a Financial Aid Counselor about a Special Circumstances Appeal.
  • The questions regarding an applicant's gender, race, and ethnicity will have no effect on federal student aid eligibility and are included for statistical purposes and data collection only. In fact, TCC will not even receive this data from the FAFSA.

2024-25 FAFSA Timeline Overview

Check back here to stay up-to-date on what milestones have been reached. Learn more about the FAFSA processing milestones. 

MilestoneExpected Completion DateActual Completion Date
1. FAFSA Processing: The Department of Education processes FAFSA submissionsEnd of January 2024March 2024
2. TCC receives processed FAFSA's: The Department of Education releases processed FAFSA’s to the TCC Financial Aid team.End of March 2024April 2024
3. FAFSA Received Notifications sent to students: The Financial Aid team begins sending notification emails to students whose 2024 - 2025 FAFSA has been received by the Financial Aid office.Beginning of April 2024May 2024
4. Posting of Missing Document Notices: TCC Financial Aid office begins posting any missing document requirements to the 2024-2025 Financial Aid dashboard in MyTCC. The Financial Aid office begins processing any documents that you have submitted.End of May 2024June 7, 2024
5. Awarding of Aid: TCC Financial Aid office will begin awarding financial aid and will make your award letters available.Summer 2024In Process

Explanation of Milestones

The FAFSA® processing timeline starts with the processing of applications by the Federal Dept. of Education. It ends with students receiving their award letters.

The U.S. Department of Education expects to be processing the FAFSA applications they received from students. While the FAFSA has been open since the beginning of January, only a few FAFSA’s have been processed at this time.

Once your FAFSA is processed, you should receive your FAFSA Submission Summary from the Dept. of Education.

TCC Financial Aid software will receive updates from our vendor allowing the Financial Aid office to begin receiving processed FAFSA’s from the Department of Education.

Once TCC recieves your 2024-2025 FAFSA you will receive a communication to your TCC email address indicating that your FAFSA has been received by the Financial Aid office. 

Additional processing time will be required before you can access your 2024-2025 Financial Aid dashboard in MyTCC.

TCC Financial Aid adds any missing requirement requests to your 2024-2025 Financial Aid dashboard on MyTCC. 

Once this happens, you will be able to submit any missing documentation we need (if any) and the Financial Aid office will begin reviewing the documents submitted.

If you need assistance in completing your requirements, visit any campus Financial Aid office or email us at

The Financial Aid office begins awarding financial aid to students. By this time, Once this happens you to be able to see and make decisions on the awards you are offered in your Financial Aid dashboard, as well as see your award letter. 

Note: As in prior years, some missing requirements on your Financial Aid dashboard in MyTCC may keep us from being able to determine your eligibility for aid if you do not complete them. 

Financial Aid Terms You Should Know

Here are some financial aid terms that will be helpful for you to know. Some of these are new or changing terms for 2024-25. You can read our primer on changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA here to learn more about some of the new terms you can expect to see.

For even more terms you’ll see throughout the financial aid process, check out the Department of Education glossary of terms.

Used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid and most other types of financial aid they can receive. It replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from prior FAFSA years and is calculated using slightly different methods than the EFC.

An estimate of how much it costs to attend a college. The COA includes the price of tuition, fees, books and supplies as well as food, housing, transportation and other expenses you may expect to incur while enrolled in college. The COA acts as a cap on how much aid you may receive in each Academic Year and is used by the school to help determine eligibility for financial aid awards that are based on financial need (as shown by the FAFSA). Learn about TCC's COA.

The difference between the Student Aid Index (SAI) and a college’s Cost of Attendance (COA).

How much it will cost you to attend a college for one year after your scholarships and grants, loans and work-study are subtracted from the COA. Use our Net Price Calculator to estimate your net price.

Your FSA ID is your username and password used to access or correct your FAFSA information online. You and your parent, and all contributors, need separate FSA IDs. 

You’ll also see this referred to as creating an account on

The IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) is the new process on the FAFSA where students and/or contributors will consent to provide the FAFSA with Federal Tax Information (FTI) obtained directly from the IRS through the IRS DDX. 

By signing the FAFSA, students, and contributors must agree to the retrieval of FTI from the IRS, as well as permit the redisclosure of FTI by the Department of Education to eligible institutions (colleges and universities), state higher-education agencies, or a designated scholarship organization for the application, awarding and administration of student aid programs. 

An applicant or contributor must provide a consent on each new FAFSA. If FAFSA FTI consent is not provided, the student will not be eligible for any Federal Student Aid until the appropriate consents are provided.

This information is obtained directly from the IRS using the IRS DDX after consent is given by the student and any contributors on the FAFSA.

A contributor is anyone required to provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred directly from the IRS into the FAFSA form through the IRS DDX, as well as being required to provide a signature on the form. 

This may include you, the student, your spouse, a biological or adoptive parent, or a stepparent. The FAFSA has a built-in tool that will help you determine your contributors (if any). 

If you are required to have Contributors by the FAFSA, they must sign the FAFSA and agree to the transfer of FTI data from the IRS for your FAFSA to be processed by the Department of Education.

This report shows you what data is on your FAFSA, some information about the aid for which you’re eligible, and your Student Aid Index (SAI). 

Prior to the 2024-2025 FAFSA, students received a Student Aid Report (SAR). The FAFSA Submission Summary replaces the SAR. 

The FAFSA Submission Summary is sent to the email address you listed on the FAFSA.

The term “family size” replaces the term “household size” in previous FAFSA’s. 

Starting with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, family size will be captured by data from the IRS DDX using FTI. Dependents and family members will be provided by the IRS based on tax return information. 

Since the FAFSA uses tax information from 2 years prior to the FAFSA being released (for example the 2024-2025 FAFSA uses 2022 FTI, the student and/or contributor will have the opportunity to review the household size provided by the IRS and make changes as necessary.

A need-based loan which is interest-free while you’re in school.

A loan for which you don’t have to demonstrate financial need, but on which interest will accrue while you are in school. You are not required to make payments while you are enrolled, but you may choose to do so

A monetary gift that doesn’t have to be repaid. It is provided by the federal or state government, the institution, and/or private organizations. It can be one-time or renewable, and based on grades, talents, or other criteria

A part-time job for students with financial need. Students qualify through the FAFSA. If you are interested in a work-study position visit with any campus Financial Aid office.