Important FAFSA Changes

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The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) is working with higher education institutions across Maryland to have a timeline in place for the awarding process of state funds to eligible applicants.

  • MHEC anticipates that the first round of awards will be completed by May 1 including all eligible applicants who have completed a FAFSA by April 15.  
  • Eligible applicants who have completed the FAFSA by May 1 are anticipated to be awarded by May 15.
  • Eligible applicants who complete the FAFSA by May 15 (i.e. priority deadline date) will be guaranteed to be awarded.

Please Note: The Maryland Higher Education Commission’s proposed timeline is dependent on the U.S. Department of Education’s timeline and is subject to change.​


​ U.S. Department of Education ​IMPORTANT UPDATE  3-22-24

Incorrect Dependent Student Contribution from Assets

The FAFSA Processing System (FPS) was not including all data fields needed to correctly calculate the Student Aid Index (SAI) for dependent students who reported assets.​ The FPS used the student’s Adjusted Net Worth of Businesses and Investment Farms to calculate the Student Contribution from Assets (ISIR field 328) and should have also included the student’s Current Net Worth of Investments and Total of Cash, Savings, and Checking Accounts. This resulted in an SAI that was lower than expected and an inaccurate total Student Contribution from Assets value.

This issue resulted in inaccurate ISIRs for dependent students with assets delivered to FTI-SAIG mailboxes prior to March 21, 2024.

While the U.S. Department of Education has resolved this issue, the information will be added to the 2024-25 FAFSA Issue Alerts page and will communicate with schools about reprocessing affected ISIRs once those details are finalized.

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State Financial Aid Priority Deadline is Extended to May 15, 2024​


FAFSA Information for Students Experiencing Homelessness


A New  FAFSA Guide from now offers the guide in TEN languages and provides easy-to-read instructions on applying for financial​ aid. 


FAFSA Events Around the State

  • Representatives from approximately 275 colleges and universities will participate in the Montgomery County National College Fair ​which will be held on Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 20 at the Adventist HealthCare Fieldhouse. The College Fair is sponsored by the National Asso­ciation for College Admission Coun­seling (NACAC). This event is free and open to all area students and parents.
  • ​​Coppin State University will be hosting NEST FEST: Spring Open House, Friday, April 5, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The MHEC One-App will be discussed and a financial aid specialist will assist attendees on how to apply for State financial aid using the new application.

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​Recent UPDATES from the U.S. Department of Education


You can now receive FAFSA Updates directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

​Follow the issues related to the 2024-25 FAFSA form that the U.S. Department of education is currently identifying and resolving by clicking on the 2024- 2025 FAFSA​ Issue Alerts.​​

Other Updates on FAFSA Across the Nation:​

Details Trickle Out About $50 Million FAFSA Support Fund​ - National Association​ of Student​ Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)​​


​FAFSA News Updates

Urgent Update - Complete and Submit your FAFSA​

​​Updates on the FAFSA Delay - Talk to a MHEC Financial Aid Specialist ​​

MHEC helps Families Prepare for the FAFSA Delay

Eye on Annapolis Talks to MHEC on Keeping Families Updated​

​Maryland Higher Education Agency Working to ​​Guide​ Students Through FAFSA Process - WMAR

Priority Deadline for Maryland FAFSA and MHEC One-App Extended - WJZ ​

The University System of Maryland on FAFSA Delays Affecting May 1st Decision Day​

Live, Interactive Financial Aid Discussion on Maryland Scholarships and Grants​


More St​udents in Maryland will be Eligible for Pell Grants

While this year's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is delayed, it will extend federal student aid eligibility to an additional 610,000 students from low-income backgrounds, paving the way for more opportunities through Federal Pell Grants.

In Maryland, the impact of the updated FAFSA shows an increase of 7,398 in Maryland Pell recipients, increasing the number of maximum Pell recipients in the state to 20,310 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education.


Understand the New Deadlines

 The Maryland Higher Education Commission has extended the Maryland financial aid deadline to submit the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to June 1, 2024.  

However, students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 1, 2024​ to receive notification of eligibility by April 15, 2024.​

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Important Tasks You Can Accomplish Now

​​​​​Gather Necessary Documents.  Before diving into the FAFSA application, ensure you have all the required documents on hand. This may include both student and parent social security numbers, tax returns, records of child support received, and current balance of checking and savings accounts.  

Create Your FSA ID. If you haven't already done so, create your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This unique username and password serve as your electronic signature and grant you access to your FAF​SA.​

Create your MDCAPS Account. If you haven't already done so, create your Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) Account.  Be sure to use an email that is easy to remember when setting up this account for better ​communication. Maryland Higher Education Commission will communicate with you about State financial awards you are eligible for through the email you enter. You will also be notified on this email when you are AWARDED State financial aid.

1. Provide Consent or be Ineligible

  • ​Consent is required to retrieve and disclose federal tax information (FTI)
  • Student FAFSA will not be considered for federal aid without consent
  • Consent is still required​​ all contributors​

2. FAFSA reduced to 36 Questions from 108

  • ​Will be available on December 31, 2023​​

3. FSA ID is required

  • ​​Allow at least 3 days for the FSA ID process for Social Security Administration Verification
  • All Contributors (student, parent, student spouse (if married), and parent spouse (if married), including undocumented parents) must have FSA ID to complete FAFSA​
  • FSA ID will be used to match parent accounts to their student's FAFSA​​

4. Who is your parent?

  • No longer the custodial parent, but the parent with the greater income or assets​​
    • A legal parent includes a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or a person that the state has determined to be your parent (for example, when a state allows another person’s name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate).​
    • Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles aren’t considered parents unless they’ve legally adopted you.​

5. Who is a contributor?

  • ​Any individual required to provide signature and consent on the FAFSA form. Everyone who provides information on the FAFSA is a contributor
  • A student’s or Parent’s answers on the FAFSA form will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information
  • Everyone who provides information on the FAFSA is a contributor​
  • Students or parents invite contributors to complete their portion of the FAFSA form by entering the contributor’s name, date of birth, social security number, and email address
  • Contributors must provide personal and financial information in their won sections of the FAFSA form, but they are not financially responsible for the students’ education
  • Each contributor must create their own FSA ID
  • Can only see the information in their section
  • Student invites parent(s) to contribute​

6. Family size, not number in college

  • Family size is determined by deductions on the tax return, can be edited on the FAFSA
  • Number in college is no longer considered for financial aid
  • Net worth of family farms and small businesses will now be required as part of the application​

7. New FAFSA Terms (Need analysis and Pell Grant Eligibility)

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is now Student Aid Index (SAI)
  • Student Aid Report (SAR) becomes FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS)
  • Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) becomes Direct Data Exchange (DDE)​

8. Federal Work Study Income

  • Automatically reported on the FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) Now reporting requirement in COD**​

9. Date to submit your FAFSA for State Financial Aid Priority Awarding

  • March 1,2024​​

10. Final date to submit your FAFSA for State financial aid

  • ​​​June 1, 2024
    ​ The final date extension is only for the 24-25 academic year.

11. Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) – What’s new for the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year?


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must submit the FAFSA in order to be considered for federal and state (for certain programs) financial aid by going to Students who submit a FAFSA are immediately​ reviewed to determine eligibility for the Guaranteed Access (GA), Educational Assistance (EA),and Maryland Community College Promise scholarship (i.e. student must list a Maryland community college on FAFSA to be considered for Promise).

The MHEC One-App REPLACES the Maryland State Financial Aid Application (MSFAA) by including a section for undocumented applicants and all other applicants ineligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for MHEC State aid programs.

Although students who are eligible to complete the FAFSA are not required to complete the MHEC One-App to be considered for the Guaranteed Access (GA), Educational Assistance (EA), and Maryland Community College Promise scholarship, applicants may complete the One-App to apply for any of the numerous other grants, scholarships, and loan assistance repayment programs offered through MHEC. For a list of all financial assistance programs offered through MHEC, click here!​

12. New questions for unaccompanied students in unstable housing and for foster youth


Unaccompanied students in unstable housing and foster youth can complete the FAFSA or MHEC One-App as independent students, without parental signatures or income information. 

The 2024-2025 FAFSA has new checkboxes for these students:

Section 5: Student Personal Circumstances

“At any time since the student turned 13, they were in foster care"

Section 6: Student Other Circumstances

 “At any time on or after July 1, 2023, was the student unaccompanied and either (1) homeless or (2) self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?"

Homeless status can be verified by any of the following:

  • Director or a designee of an emergency or transitional shelter, street outreach program, homeless youth drop-in center, or other program serving those experiencing homelessness;
  • The student's high school or school district homeless liaisons or designee (every school district has a homeless liaison, and you can find their information here);
  • Director or ​a designee of a project supported by a federal TRIO or GEAR UP program grant; or
  • Financial aid administrator
Students with questions about whether they qualify as unaccompanied, homeless, or self-supporting and how to verify their eligibility should talk with their school district homeless liaison or a financial aid administrator at the college or university of their choice for verification.

For more information about your rights as a student in unstable housing, visit:

For additional information regarding the Homeless Previsions in the New FAFSA go to:

New FAFSA Provisions for Homeless and Foster Youth
Financial Aid for Youth Who are Homeless (or At Risk of Homelessness) and On Their Own

Does My Living Situation Meet the Definition of Homelessness?​​

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