FAFSA, Higher Education

Inform Students about the FAFSA: Use This Email Template

Use this email template to inform students that the FAFSA is available, and specific steps to help them complete the application.

Download the Template

The 2024-2025 FAFSA launched on December 31st, 2023, which is a three-month delay from the usual date of October 1. This shortens the amount of time for students and families to make an informed financial decision about colleges. It is important to let students know how to fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible, so they can pursue postsecondary education with as much financial aid as possible.  There are many new changes to the 2024-2025 FAFSA, including full implementation of homeless and foster youth provisions. Direct outreach to all students is crucial, since many students may be experiencing homelessness or in foster care, but have not yet been identified by school staff. The FAFSA can be a way to identify these students and provide them with additional support.

The email template below can be used by school district liaisons, high school counselors, service providers, and financial aid administrators to inform students that the FAFSA is available, and specific steps to help them complete the application. We made this resource available as a template that may be edited to meet the specific needs of your students and your organization/school.

Subject line: It’s FAFSA Time!

The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now open! Did you know that the earlier you apply, the more money for school you can get? This year in particular because of the FAFSA delay, there is a shorter amount of time to make an informed financial decision about which college to attend. Check your institution’s priority deadline and fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can. 

Please see below for steps you should take and things to consider. Reach out to [INSERT NAME HERE] if you’d like help completing your application. 

Step 1. Determine if You Need to Include Parental Information

If you meet any of the following eligibility requirements, you are an independent student and do not need to include parental information on the FAFSA. 

Homelessness on the FAFSA means you are an unaccompanied homeless youth. You are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian and meet one of these living situations:

  • Staying with other people temporarily because you lost your housing or similar reason;
  • Staying in a shelter;
  • Staying in a motel/hotel due to lack of alternatives;
  • Staying in a car or other unsheltered situation;
  • Living in a campus residence hall but otherwise would have nowhere else to go

If you are experiencing homelessness but you are in the physical custody of your parents or guardians, or if you do not meet any of the above requirements, you DO need to include parental information and you will include your parent or guardians’ information in the parent section of the FAFSA.

2. Gather the Documents You Need

3.  Create a FSA ID

4. Login to FAFSA.GOV and Begin your Application

5. If You Don’t Need Parental Information Because of Your Living SItuation, Get a Determination from an Authorized Party

If you are an independent student because you are experiencing homelessness on your own,  you will need a determination in order to apply for financial aid without your parent’s information. Please contact [INSERT NAME OF AUTHORIZED PARTY HERE] who can provide a determination. 

*If you are an authorized party,  include your email address so students can reach out to you directly for a determination. Authorized parties include school district McKinney-Vento liaisons or designee; director or a designee of a director of an emergency or transitional shelter, street outreach program, homeless youth drop-in center, or other program serving individuals who are experiencing homelessness; director or a designee of a director of a program funded under a TRIO or GEAR UP grant; or a financial aid administrator at the current institution or at another institution who previously made a determination.*

5. Lastly, If You’re Unsure About a Question, ASK! 

It’s very important that the information you enter on the FAFSA is accurate, so it’s best to take it slow and ask for help. Feel free to contact me at [INSERT EMAIL/PHONE NUMBER]

For Additional FAFSA Resources and Information, click here.