On April 9, 2024, Federal Student Aid (FSA) sent an updated message to colleges and universities regarding processing the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

FSA Message on the FAFSA Process   Net Price Calculator

What's Changed for the 2024-25 FAFSA Form?
JMU Message

There continues to be problems with students and parents being able to file the 2024-25 FAFSA at www.studentaid.gov. In some cases, these challenges are preventing an application from being submitted at all. If you are experiencing problems in completing the FAFSA, please be persistent. Federal Student Aid (FSA) is continuously working on the application to resolve errors in the on-line form.

JMU’s FAFSA Priority Filing Date is March 1, 2024. This is a priority date, not a deadline. 

If you cannot meet the priority date, we encourage you to complete the FAFSA as early as possible, even after March 1st. 

JMU will closely monitor our FAFSA volume once we begin receiving completed applications from FSA. At this time, FSA is telling schools they will start sending us FAFSA’s “the first half of March.” 

We will offer awards as long as funds remain available to applicants who submit the FAFSA before or after March 1, 2024. 


Contributors are anyone asked to provide information on a student’s FAFSA. This may include the student, a student’s parents (biological, adoptive, or step), or a student’s spouse.

This is dependent on a student’s dependency status based on FAFSA questions.

  • For students considered independent:
    • Student plus their spouse (if married).
  • Dependent Students:
    • Student & both biological or adoptive parents if married
    • Student & both biological or adoptive parents if unmarried but living together
    • Student & parent providing the most financial support.

If the student’s biological or adoptive parents are divorced from each other, but the parent that provides more support is remarried, the step-parent will also be considered a contributor.

A contributor will need to provide their biographical and financial information on a student’s FAFSA after receiving an invitation from the student.

  1. Contributors receive an email informing that they have been identified as a Contributor.
  2. Contributors create an account on StudentAid.gov if they do not already have one.
  3. Contributors log in to account using their FSA ID account username and password.
  4. Contributor provides the required information on the student's FAFSA form.

Contributors must give consent to the IRS to transfer their tax information from the IRS into the FAFSA. Without this consent a FAFSA will not be official, and the student will not be eligible for aid.

A contributor will have 45 days to complete their sections before the student’s information is cleared from the FAFSA and needs to be recompleted.

Financial Data & Required FAFSA Information

Income and tax information will be required for the FAFSA. Asset, Business, and Farm information will also be required.

Contributors will be required to consent on the student’s FAFSA. Without this consent a student's FAFSA will not be eligible for aid.

Even those who are not required to file taxes will need to provide consent for their non-tax filing status to be verified with the IRS.

  • Child support received will now count as an asset instead of income.
  • Family farms and small businesses will now count as assets.
  • 529 college savings plans are reported based on the beneficiary instead of the parental owner of the account.
Student Aid Index (SAI)

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is the new calculated number that determines a students aid eligiblity. This number replaces the previously used Expected Family Contribution.

Important: Your federal award equals Need = Cost of Attendance (COA)Student Aid Index (SAI) – Other Financial Assistance (OFA). There is one caveat to this. If the calculated SAI is a negative number, then it is changed to $0 for the purposes of the need determination.

  • The SAI is calculated differently in conjunction with the change of the Department of Education's methodology.
  • It will range from –1500 and above
  • The number of family members in college will no longer be considered when calculating the SAI.
The SAI will determine a student's need-based aid eligibility both with the federal and state departments.
Pell Grant Changes

This is money that is awarded to those with the highest need based on their FAFSA. There will be three determinations for a Pell Grant; maximum pell grant, minimum pell grant, and a calculated Pell Grant. Click here for more information regarding the Pell Grant.

Eligibility is determined by a student’s calculated SAI from the FAFSA. The SAI will determine if a student is eligible for a maximum, minimum, or calculated Pell Grant.

At this time the Department of Education has not disclosed the awarding amounts.
FAFSA Processing & JMU Financial Aid

This means that the Department of Education has received your FAFSA and is working to process the application.

A student will need to log into studentaid.gov to make edits to their FAFSA.

Students are now able to make corrections to their FAFSA. Common scenarios where a correction may be necessary include: making a mistake on the FAFSA, needing consent or a signature from a Contributor, removing or adding a school, and accidentally submitting a FAFSA with an incorrect social. There are many other reasons to submit a correction and for directions to submit corrections visit Department of Education's "How to Correct or Update your FAFSA" webpage.

Our office has begun sending some Preliminary Financial Aid Offers to accepted students with valid FAFSAs. A student will receive an email notification to the student email on their JMU application once available to view in the students Applicant Center in MyMadison. Visit our Preliminary Financial Aid website here for more information regarding the Preliminary Financial Aid Offer.

If you completed your FAFSA and have received a Student Aid Index (SAI), you can use our Net Price Calculator to view estimated non-scholarship financial aid eligibility.

Merit Scholarships:

Scholarship selections for Early Action admitted students that are solely merit-based, meaning no financial need component, will be made by mid-February. Notifications will be e-mailed to students following the selection. All e-mails will be sent by the end of February. Only students selected for scholarships will receive e-mails and the e-mails will be sent from scholarships@jmu.edu.

Need-Based Scholarships:

Selections for scholarships that have a financial need component in their eligibility cannot be made until after JMU begins receiving FAFSA data. These selections will be made by mid-April.

Due to the new FAFSA process and the delay in schools receiving FAFSA applications, our office will not start reviewing Professional Judgment requests until the end of May. Any requests that have already been submitted will need to re-request a review come late-April when we have FAFSA information to review.

Professional Judgment Information

Back to Top