First-Year Students

The U.S. Department of Education will release a new, simplified version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by December 31, 2023. If you’ll be starting college for the first time in fall 2024, this page serves as your guide to the new 2024-2025 FAFSA process.

Accepted Student FAFSA Checklist Spring 2024

Download Your FAFSA Checklist

Get your guide to the new 2024-2025 FAFSA process.

FAFSA Checklist Downloadable
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What Is the FAFSA?
It’s the Way to Get the Most Complete Financial Aid Package.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines a college student’s eligibility for financial aid. Using your financial information, including your family income, your completed FAFSA allows the government to calculate your Student Aid Index (SAI). Your SAI determines whether you qualify for federal funding (the Pell Grant). When the colleges and universities you’re accepted to receive your FAFSA information, they also use it to determine how much need-based aid the college will provide you. 

No matter what your family’s income, fill out the FAFSA so you can receive a full picture of what you’ll pay for college. If you’re a New York state resident, you should also fill out your New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application, which determines whether you qualify for state aid. You’ll be prompted to go straight to the NYS TAP application when you complete your FAFSA online, so we recommend doing it all at once. 

The Department of Education says it plans to open the 2024-2025 FAFSA sometime in December 2023. We suggest students fill it out as soon as possible to get in the first mailing of financial aid packages from Russell Sage College. You’ll receive your package both by U.S. postal mail and electronically (you’ll get an email when it’s ready). If the new FAFSA rollout goes smoothly, we expect tol have the first round of financial aid packages out by mid-February.

Just be sure to include our FAFSA code under the list of schools when you fill out the form. Our school code is 002810.

No. However, if you don’t fill out your FAFSA, the only financial aid information you’ll have from Russell Sage College is the merit scholarship amount that was listed in your acceptance letter. (And we know we offer good merit scholarships, but that’s not all you may qualify for.)

Some financial aid is also first come, first served, so you don’t want to miss out.

It’s difficult to make a good decision without all of the information, so be sure you fill out your FAFSA early, so you can make the right college choice.

Students who will enter college for the first time in fall 2024 should register for their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) now. There is a simple online form you’ll need to fill out to get your FSA ID. Your parent(s) or spouse will also need their own FSA IDs so they can complete their sections of your FAFSA, so they should go online and register for an FSA ID now, too.

Anyone who is listed as a Contributor on your FAFSA will need an FSA ID. (See more about Contributors below.)

When you and your Contributors get your FSA IDs, remember to write the FSA ID and password down, save it on your phone, or tattoo it on your arm (well, maybe not). Yes, we know that you’ve been taught to NEVER record your log-in information, but make this the exception. It can be a hassle to recover this information if you forget it. Our printable FAFSA Checklist is a great place to put it if you have a fondness for good, old-fashioned paper.

  1. Identify your Contributors.
    These are the people who must fill out a section of the FAFSA for it to be considered complete. If you’re married, your Contributor is your spouse. If you’re a dependent student, which parent(s) you list on the form depends on their marital status and how they file their taxes.
    • Parents are married and filed joint 2022 tax returns: Only one parent needs to complete the FAFSA as a Contributor. 
    • Parents are married and filed separate 2022 tax returns: Each parent is a Contributor and must complete their section of the FAFSA for it to be considered complete. 
    • Contributor parent is remarried: Your step-parent is also considered a Contributor and must fill out their section of your FAFSA for it to be considered complete.
    • Parents are divorced, separated, or never married: The parent who provides the most financial support should complete the FAFSA as a Contributor.
  2. You and your Contributors all need their own FSA ID to complete the FAFSA.
    You should do that ASAP at https://studentaid.gov. Click on “Create an Account” to get started. Write down your FSA ID and password when you receive it. It can be a hassle to retrieve it if you forget.
  3. Be sure you have the following information for when it’s time to list your Contributors on your FAFSA:
    • Legal name (from their Social Security Card)
    • Date of birth
    • Social Security Number (SSN) if they have one (if they don’t have a SSN, you’ll be asked to provide their mailing address instead)
    • Email address 
  4. Also be sure to have the following information ready:
    • 2022 Federal Income Tax Returns for you and your Contributors
    • Current bank statements
    • If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you will also need your U.S. Permanent Resident Card (Form I-151 or I-551C) or Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) with an eligible status
  5. When the FAFSA for 2024-2025 opens, fill it out online.
    The Department of Education expects the FAFSA to open in December 2023. Complete yours early to receive a full financial aid package from the schools you’ve been accepted to. Don’t forget to list Russell Sage’s FAFSA code: 002810 so we receive your information.
student working on a laptop

Practice for the FAFSA (And Get a Rough Idea of Aid Eligibility)

The Department of Education has created an online Student Aid Index (SAI) calculator so students and their families can get an estimate of their aid eligibility. It’s also good FAFSA practice.

In addition, you can use our Net Price Calculator to get an estimate of your cost of attendance.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re married, your spouse is considered a Contributor.

If you’re a dependent student, you’ll define your Contributors this way. (If you’re not sure whether you’d be considered a dependent student, go through this exercise to find out.):

  • Parents are married and filed joint 2022 tax returns: Only one parent needs to complete the FAFSA as a Contributor. 
  • Parents are married and filed separate 2022 tax returns: Each parent is a Contributor and must complete their section of the FAFSA for it to be considered complete. 
  • Contributor parent is remarried: Your step-parent is also considered a Contributor and must fill out their section of your FAFSA for it to be considered complete.
  • Parents are divorced, separated, or never married: The parent who provides the most financial support should complete the FAFSA as a Contributor. (Before the new FAFSA, it was based on which parent you lived with for the majority of the time, so this is a change.)

You’ll still get a merit scholarship from Russell Sage College, but you would be missing out on any federal aid you may qualify for. We also won’t have your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for our own need-based grants that could be granted on top of your merit scholarship.

When you list your Contributors on the FAFSA, if your parent doesn’t have a social security number you will be prompted to enter their mailing address instead.

Unfortunately, you won’t be eligible for federal student aid. This can include grants, loans, and work study. Consent is required by every Contributor, regardless of their filing status.