New FAFSA forms now available

Students in college or planning to attend college need to know that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – better known as FAFSA – has changed and is now available for the 2024-25 school year.

A completed FAFSA form can help students pay their ticket to get into college and continue through college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 85 percent of students nationwide receive some form of financial aid.

Jana Cox, the director of financial aid and scholarships at the University of Tennessee at Martin, said there have been several changes in the FAFSA application form, making it easier to fill out.

“They basically did a complete revamp of how the FAFSA is presented to students,” she said. “It’s simpler and it’s quicker. Now, with consent from the student and parent, the FAFSA connects directly to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and pulls tax information directly so students and parents won’t have to find their tax returns and enter all that information manually.

“Previously, it was left up to the students to let their parents know they needed to complete the FAFSA. Now, once the student completes their portion of the FAFSA, the parent will receive an invite to complete the parent portion of the FAFSA.”

The FAFSA form is a means of getting access to financial aid available through Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that includes federal funding like Pell Grants, direct loans, Federal Work-Study Program, supplemental opportunity grants and other federal student financial aid programs.

The amount students receive is based on different factors, household size and their household income and assets. However, student financial aid is not just for students from low-income families.

The FAFSA form also helps students gain state student aid as well as federal aid.

“If someone in Tennessee wants a HOPE Scholarship, you have to complete the FAFSA,” Cox said. “And that’s not based on income at all; that’s based strictly on your GPA (grade-point average) or ACT scores.”

Internal data for UT Martin from the end of the Fall 2023 semester show that 98.8% of incoming first-year students for that semester and 91.7% of all degree-seeking undergraduates enrolled at UT Martin last fall filled out a FAFSA form.

“Before this year, the form was usually sent out on Oct. 1, but this year, it was launched on Dec. 30,” Cox said. “They are having intermittent maintenance. It’s a soft launch, so they’re taking it down randomly to fix things or do maintenance on it. Hopefully, that will be taken care of by the end of January.”

The FAFSA form release date will return to Oct. 1 later this year.

“You have to complete it every year,” Cox said. “It’s not a one-and-done. Every single year, you have to complete the FAFSA for the following year.”

The 2024-25 FAFSA form can be found online at The website also answers several questions about student financial aid and the application process.

Cox said her UT Martin office will have several dates in February where students can come in and get help completing the FAFSA form. The locations of those meetings will be announced at a later date. The dates and times for those meetings are:

• Thursday, Feb. 1: noon-3 p.m., information session for students

• Thursday, Feb. 1, 6-8 p.m., information session for parents Zoom meeting

• Wednesday, Feb. 7: 9 a.m.-noon, FAFSA Flight (help with the FAFSA)

• Thursday, Feb. 15, 1-4 p.m., FAFSA Flight

• Monday, Feb. 19, 5-8 p.m., FAFSA Flight

“I would highly encourage all students to fill out the financial aid application,” she said. “More students are supposed to be eligible for a Pell Grant, and we aren’t going to know unless they complete it, so that’s the best way to determine their eligibility.”

For information about student financial aid to attend UT Martin, contact the UTM One Stop at 731-881-4677.

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