Mapping Your Future: A critical action you must take for your FAFSA to be processed


A critical action you must take for your FAFSA to be processed

By Catherine Mueller

September 06, 2023

Even if you answer every question on the form, you won't be eligible for federal financial unless you take an important action when completing the FAFSA.

That action is that you and anyone contributing to your FAFSA must approve the use of Federal Tax Information (FTI) on your FAFSA.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “If FAFSA FTI approval is not provided, the student will not be eligible for any Title IV aid until the approval is provided by each contributor.”

FTI approval is a new requirement, which will begin with the 2024-25 FAFSA when it is released in December. (Normally, the FAFSA is released on October 1, but has been delayed this year due to changes legislated by Congress to simplify the FAFSA.)

This new process of using FTI from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is one way the U.S. Department of Education is simplifying completion of the FAFSA. The process, known as Direct Data Exchange (DDX), makes it much easier to provide financial information. Previously, anyone completing a FAFSA had to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (which often didn’t work) or enter information manually.

With the 2024-25 FAFSA, there may be situations where a student (or someone contributing information to a student’s FAFSA like a parent or spouse) must enter financial information manually. However, in those situations (which should be rare), the person providing information for the FAFSA must still approve the use of their FTI on the FAFSA.

The Department of Education said the FAFSA FTI Approval is “formal approval granted by an applicant and any applicable contributors for a given FAFSA cycle to retrieve and use FTI to determine an applicant’s federal financial aid eligibility.”

In addition, the FTI approval permits the redisclosure of FTI by the Department to an eligible institution; state higher education agency; or a designated scholarship organization for the application, award, and administration of student aid programs. An applicant and contributor (if applicable) must provide approval once each year.