The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a little bit different this year, but, just like always, Brenau’s financial aid professionals are here to help. Typically the FAFSA comes out each year on Oct. 1, but for the 2024-2025 academic year the application will be released in December in a simpler, more intuitive format.

Things to know about the new FAFSA

The FAFSA is opening later this year

Ordinarily the FAFSA opens in October, but the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not open until December. We don’t know exactly when yet, but as soon as we know, we’ll reach out to you with more information. So, keep an eye on your email and our social media accounts (links in the footer).

The FAFSA will have a vastly reduced number of questions

The 2024-2025 FAFSA will have fewer than 50 questions, compared to more than 100 questions in the past.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI)

This new calculation will automatically pull income tax information from the IRS once authorized by the taxpayer (student, parents, spouse).

Federal financial aid will be more accessible for more students

Early studies show that more students will qualify for a Federal Pell Grant and more Pell-eligible students will qualify for the maximum annual amount.

The FAFSA no longer considers multiple family members in college

Students with siblings or spouses enrolled in college may see a difference in grant eligibility

Everyone needs an FSA ID

Everyone filling out the FAFSA (including parents or spouses) needs a Federal Student Aid ID. Sign up for an FSA ID at if you don’t have one.

Make sure to select Brenau

When you file your FAFSA, make sure you select Brenau to receive your FAFSA results so that we can put together your financial aid package. Brenau’s school code is 001556.

Getting prepared for the new FAFSA

While you can’t fill out your FAFSA until December, there are a few things that you can do in order to make sure you’re ready when the application opens:

  1. Make sure you have your social security number handy
  2. Check on whether you expect to be a dependent or independent student
  3. Create your FSA ID account
  4. If you’re a dependent, have your parent(s) create their FSA ID accounts and if you have a spouse, make sure they create an FSA ID too.
  5. Keep your eye on our social media and your emails for more information and the exact date when the new FAFSA will be released

Wondering what to expect on the FAFSA? Check out FSA Outreach’s 2024-25 FAFSA Demonstration video on Youtube for a full walkthrough.

FAFSA and admissions timeline

  • Now: Create your FSA ID and prepare for the FAFSA release
  • Dec. 2023: Complete your FAFSA as early as you can (the sooner your complete your FAFSA, the sooner we’ll be able to send you your financial aid package)
  • Jan. 2024: Brenau will begin sending financial aid offers
    • Incoming Fall 2024 freshman students, keep an eye out for your personal financial aid video, which details your specific package
  • Spring 2024: If you’re a incoming student, fill out your enrollment intention form, and prepare for a great year at Brenau


Financial Aid, FAFSA, Contributors

A contributor is the term the federal government uses for anyone who needs to submit information on your 2024-2025 FAFSA. You’ll need to invite them to fill out information on your FAFSA. Your contributors will also need to make their own FSA ID.

The most likely contributors are:

  • Student
  • Spouse (if student is married)
  • Parents (biological or adoptive)
  • Stepparents
Financial Aid, FAFSA, Contributors

It is likely that you will need to have a contributor if you are a traditional undergraduate student. The contributor will likely be one or both of your parents or stepparents, depending on your specific circumstances. Your spouse will be a contributor if you are married.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, Contributors

The following flowchart will help you understand which of your parents needs to be a contributor on your FAFSA, or if both of your parents need to be contributors.

infographic about contributor relationship
Image courtesy of Alamo College District. Used with permission.
Financial Aid, FAFSA, Contributors

First, the student will need to invite the contributor, then:

  1. The contributor will receive an email stating that they have been invited by their student
  2. The contributor will create an FSA ID if they don’t have one already and then log into their account
  3. The contributor reviews the FAFSA questions associated with them, and enters accurate responses.
Financial Aid, FAFSA, FSA IDs

The FSA ID is your account to access the FAFSA. All students and contributors need to have their own FSA ID.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, FSA IDs

All students and contributors who have a Social Security Number can create their FSA ID now on the Federal Student Aid website.

If your contributors do not have a Social Security number, they will be able to create their FSA ID once the new FSA ID process launches in late 2023.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, FSA IDs

As of right now, no. The federal government is developing a new FSA ID process that will launch in late 2023. Once this takes place, you will be able to verify your identity without a Social Security Number and make an FSA ID.

An FSA ID is required for all students and contributors to access the 2024-2025 FAFSA.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, FSA IDs

No, you can use your existing FSA ID. If you forgot your username and/or password, you can retrieve your FSA ID on the username retrieval page.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, FSA IDs

If you create your FSA ID with a Social Security Number, it will take a few days to verify. Once the 2024-25 FAFSA is available to file, you should be able to start your FAFSA about 1-3 days after creating your FSA ID. To get a head start, you and your contributors can create your FSA IDs now using the Federal Student Aid website as long as you have a Social Security Number. If you go ahead and create your FSA IDs, you will be able to start the FAFSA as soon as it opens.

Since contributors without a social security number must undergo a verification process to create their FSA IDs, those created without a Social Security number will be verified instantly and can start entering information on the FAFSA immediately.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, Student Aid Index (SAI) and Federal Pell Grants

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is a measure of you and your family’s ability to pay for college, and helps to determine the amount of need-based financial aid you may be eligible to receive. The SAI replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from previous versions of the FAFSA.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, Student Aid Index (SAI) and Federal Pell Grants

The SAI has changed the way that eligibility for need-based aid is calculated:

  • The number of family members in college is no longer factored into the calculation, but still reported on your FAFSA
  • An SAI may be as low as $ -1,500, while the floor for the EFC was $0
  • The SAI will help determine Pell Grant Eligibility for families who do not qualify based solely on family income
  • Child support received and family farms and small businesses will now be considered assets
Financial Aid, FAFSA, Student Aid Index (SAI) and Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are need-based financial aid that is awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. This award is money given by the government to students and does not need to be repaid. As a result of the changes to the FAFSA and the new SAI, more students are expected to qualify for a Pell Grant. The maximum annual Pell Grant is currently $7,395 for full-time enrollment.

Financial Aid, FAFSA, Student Aid Index (SAI) and Federal Pell Grants

Yes! You can use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to help get an idea what aid you may be eligible for. The Estimator can be found on the Federal Student Aid website. Please note that this tool provides estimates of federal student aid programs; it cannot predict financial aid offered by Brenau University or through Georgia state aid programs. Your Brenau financial aid offer will pull all sources of financial aid together in order to help you and your family make an informed decision.