gradient overlay

Your guide to help North Carolina students and families pay for college.

The Better FAFSA for the 2024-2025 award year brings a new and streamlined approach to the financial aid process. As you assist families navigating the Better FAFSA process, we’re here to be your guide in staying up to date with the latest news and resources. Together, we can help more North Carolina students plan and pay for college.

The Better FAFSA for the 2024-2025 award year brings a new and streamlined approach to the financial aid process. As you assist families navigating the Better FAFSA process, we’re here to be your guide in staying up to date with the latest news and resources. Together, we can help more North Carolina students plan and pay for college.

Upcoming Events, Trainings & Webinars

Latest FAFSA Updates

1 May 2024

Federal Student Aid Update

The Department of Education (DE) announced that contributors without a Social Security Number (SSN) can now access the FAFSA form while waiting for their identity to be verified. DE made changes to its systems to allow applicants and contributors without an SSN to immediately access the online 2024-25 FAFSA form after creating a account (formerly FSA ID). Families that are currently waiting for their identity to be verified also have gained instant access to the FAFSA form. Please note that contributors still need to go through the verification process. Students and contributors without an SSN must also continue to manually enter their tax information.

This article from Federal Student Aid (FSA) shares information on the identity verification process.

17 April 2024

Students can now make corrections

The Department of Education (DE) announced that students and contributors can now make corrections to their FAFSA. At this time, you can advise students to check their FAFSA Submission Summary and check for any errors that need correction.

The DE also shared that they will begin to reprocess files impacted by the FAFSA Processing System (FPS) known issues this week.

The DE and the White House designated the week of April 15th -19th as the National FAFSA Week of Action. They have made the following toolkit available.

27 March 2024

Guidance for students with unusual circumstances

The Department of Education (DE) announced that the ISIRs delivered before March 21 will need to be reprocessed by the US Department of Education due to a calculation error. However, schools and states can recalculate the SAI to develop a tentative aid package for an affected student without waiting to receive a reprocessed ISIR.

Students will be able to make corrections to their FAFSAs starting in April.

Guidance for students with unusual circumstances / provisionally independent students:

If a student answers “Yes” to question 7 on the FAFSA form (Student Unusual Circumstances), the student will receive a provisional status as an independent student as well as a provisional SAI calculation; however, the record will still be rejected, pending further action from the student’s financial aid office. This will show up in the Finish the FAFSA Report (for school counselors that have access) as a submitted but not completed FAFSA with an error flag for students to follow up with their financial aid office.

  • The financial aid office will reach out and work with the student to determine if they qualify for a professional judgment. If the student does qualify, the financial aid administrator will submit the professional judgment to FSA. Once that professional judgment is processed, the student’s status changes from “provisionally independent” to “independent,” and their SAI calculation is no longer considered provisional. At that time, a new ISIR will be generated, and a state grant will be populated based on the school’s professional judgment and the confirmed, correct SAI.
  • If a student pursues provisional independent student status and is not determined to be an independent student by a financial aid administrator, the student will need to complete the FAFSA as a dependent student, which will generate a new ISIR and a state grant award will be populated if they qualify.

15 March 2024

Update to Better FAFSA

The Department of Education (DE) announced that the process for contributors without an SSN to create an FSA ID is now working. Contributors who were previously unable to create an FSA ID should try again. Note that there are still two issues that remain with the process for contributors without an SSN. (1) They will have to enter tax information manually on the online form due to the system not being able to pull their Federal Tax Information (FTI) and (2) some students might encounter errors while trying to invite their contributor. FSA released the following guidance on how to submit the 24-25 FAFSA form if a contributor does not have an SSN.

FAFSA Submission Summaries will start to become available in batches for students throughout the month of March. However, students won’t be able to make corrections to their FAFSA form until later in March.

Known Issue: 
Pell Grant eligibility is not displaying for provisionally independent students on their FAFSA Submission Summary. There is currently no timeline for resolution.

21 Feb 2024

Department of Education shares workaround for students with contributors without a Social Security Number

The Department of Education (DE) announced a workaround for students with contributors without a Social Security Number (SSN) to be able to submit the online FAFSA form. This step-by step guide will walk students through how to submit an incomplete online FAFSA form for the purposes of meeting non-federal financial aid deadlines.

Note: This is only for students who have not submitted a paper FAFSA.

DE stated that FAFSA submission issues for students who have a contributor without an SSN will be resolved in the first half of March. At that time, students will be able to submit a fully completed FAFSA that includes all contributor information.

DE also shared that contributors without an SSN who cannot complete the TransUnion identity verification process will now receive an automated email including an assigned case number and information on next steps and that additional Spanish-speaking representatives will be added to the call center supporting login/ FSA ID creation.

31 Jan 2024

FSA announces delay in FAFSA data delivery

The Department of Education announced that colleges and universities will receive FAFSA data starting in March. This delay will likely push financial award letters to go out in April.

This delay is due to the updates needed to the federal processing system to include the revised data tables used to calculate Student Aid Index (SAI). The updated tables account for inflation and will yield approximately $1.8 billion in aid for students.

What this means for you:
  • As you communicate with students and parents, please let them know that financial aid award letters from are likely not going to be available until late Spring, possibly April.
  • In the meantime, once students receive communication that their FSS is available, they can log onto their account to check if they have errors or were flagged for verification and take necessary steps. You can also help them find their Student Aid Index (SAI) to see if they might qualify for the Next NC Scholarship if they are from a household with an income of $80,000 or less and an SAI of 7,500 or less.

08 Jan 2024

FSA Shares List of Known FAFSA Issues

FSA has shared a list of known open issues with the Better FAFSA form. You can see the status of each known issue as well as a description on the FSA Knowledge Center site.

Source: 2024–25 FAFSA Issue Alerts | Knowledge Center

20 Nov 2023

FSA announces a phased release for Better FAFSA

Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced that Better FAFSA will be released in phases. The form will be available sometime on or before December 31,2023, but the FAFSA Submission Summary won’t be available until end of January. Students will receive a confirmation email in the interim. Financial aid offices won’t get student FAFSA information for those that complete their FAFSA early until the end of January, so financial aid award letters will be delayed until February.

The paper FAFSA will be available the day the Better FAFSA opens. The form will be available in both English and Spanish. The FSA Help Center will have translation services for 11 of the most common languages.

The FSA YouTube channel now has short videos on how to fill out the FAFSA and more. FSA has also updated the information on the website to provide more information about how to prepare for this year’s FAFSA.

Finally, The Department of Education shared on a press release that in North Carolina, 16,489 more students will be Pell eligible and 45,852 more will qualify for maximum Pell.

20 Oct 2023

Webinar for Creating FSA ID Without SSN

You can now register to learn more about the new process for creating FSA ID for parents/contributors without a Social Security Number. The webinar will be on November 2nd from 1-2pm ET.
Access the webinar:

2 Oct 2023

The 2024-2025 FAFSA prototype is here

The prototype offers an opportunity to experience the Better FAFSA ahead of its release. FSA noted that the prototype is not a complete replica of the 2024–25 FAFSA form. Instead, it is a tool that allows college access professionals to navigate specific scenarios that many applicants will encounter when filling out their FAFSA this year.

The specific scenarios that the FAFSA prototype demonstrates are —

• Initiating a new application as a student or parent,
• Completing an in-progress application as a student, parent, or spouse, and
• Common corrections scenarios, including missing critical data elements or signatures, and voluntary corrections.

When navigating a scenario, the prototype will advise users when a particular action must be taken. It is important to keep in mind that the scenarios the prototype covers will not be exhaustive of all possible situations users may encounter while filing the 2024–25 FAFSA application.

Access the prototype:

Go to:

Password: prototype2425

Source: Announcing the 2024–25 FAFSA Prototype | Knowledge Center

8 Sept 2023

How to assess the net value of a family farm?

With the new FAFSA, families no longer have an exemption for valuing family farms if they have fewer than 100 employees. For those with AGI’s greater than $60,000, they will now need to include the net value of their family farm on the FAFSA. This has some families worried and wondering how to estimate the net value of their family farm. FSA has provided the following guidance:

Applicants should determine the total net value of all farm assets and subtract the net value of their principal residence to determine the final value of their farm assets. The principal residence may include the family’s home, as well as structures and land adjacent to the home that are not being used, stored, or sold for farming or other commercial activities. Property values are generally assessed at a rate that considers the use of the property and the value of the land. Applicants and their families may refer to their property tax assessments from municipal, county, or state governments to help determine and separate the value of their principal residence from other property. Debts owed against the principal residence—such as a mortgage—should also be subtracted from the assessed value of the residence to determine the net value. [Guidance issued 08/04/2023]

Source: FAFSA Simplification Questions and Answers (

About Us

The College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a service provided by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) to help students plan, apply, and pay for college. The NC FAFSA Hub was created for high school counselors and college access professionals to learn about the latest changes coming to the new FAFSA.

Learn More