Campus News

Your FAFSA questions, answered by UK Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

FAFSA recently implemented the FAFSA Simplification Act for the 2024-25 academic year.
FAFSA recently implemented the FAFSA Simplification Act for the 2024-25 academic year.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2024) — It’s time, once again, to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.  

You may have heard there are changes to this year’s form. FAFSA recently implemented the FAFSA Simplification Act for the 2024-25 academic year. 

Paul McKinney, associate vice president for Student Financial Stability (OSFAS) at the University of Kentucky, wants students and parents to know you don’t have to navigate these changes alone. 

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, in the Office for Student Success, offers resources and services to support you and your family.

UKNow went directly to students, asking them what they wanted to know about FAFSA and the new form. McKinney provides answers to those frequently asked questions below. 

UKNow: What is FAFSA? Why is it important? 

McKinney: FAFSA is a form that students and their parent/contributor (if applicable) should complete and is an important resource to assist in paying for a student’s college education.

There are only 43 questions on the FAFSA for 2024-25, and completing the application will help the UK Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships (OSFAS) determine your eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid. Therefore, you need to take your time and answer each question on the FAFSA, so we can build a great financial aid package for you. 

Additionally, FAFSA determines a student’s federal aid eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, federal work-study and federal loans. Kentucky residents may also qualify for the College Access Grant (CAP), which a FAFSA will identify. 

It’s important to note, even if a family believes they will not financially qualify for federal grants, they should still complete the application. Students could still qualify for UK’s need-based scholarships and/or other need-based funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

UK OSFAS is dedicated to helping students fund their education and completing the FAFSA is an important first step in the process.  

UKNow: What is the role of OSFAS in helping students with FAFSA?  

McKinney: Our OSFAS team assists students and families daily on how to complete the FAFSA form. While it’s a form specific to the U.S. Department of Education, and our office has no control over the process or the questions, we certainly help those that would like 1:1 assistance navigating the FAFSA form and will walk students through the entire process.

UKNow: What has changed with the FAFSA simplification?  

McKinney: Per the Federal Student Aid website, “The FAFSA Simplification Act represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid starting with the 2024-25 award year. This includes the FAFSA form, need analysis and many policies and procedures for schools that participate in federal student aid programs.”   

Some of those changes include reducing the number of questions on the FAFSA from 108 to 43, expanded integration with the IRS data exchange (which should reduce the amount of time applicants spend manually entering their tax information) and expanding Pell Grant eligibility.

The biggest change, within the form itself, is the timing delay from the U.S. Department of Education to institutions on when we receive the FAFSA transactions for our students.

Every college or university in the country is being faced with the challenge of not being able to see any FAFSA that has been submitted with our school code, and we are being told that we will not get to see that information to begin offering financial aid notifications to students until late spring. We are committed to making federal aid awards as quickly as possible once we receive the FAFSA data. 

UKNow: Are international students eligible for FAFSA? If not, are there other opportunities to receive aid? 

McKinney: To complete the FAFSA you will need to be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. Our OSFAS team is a useful resource to assist an international student to see if they qualify as an eligible non-citizen. If an international student is not eligible to complete the FAFSA, they may still be eligible for institutional funding or scholarships. Additionally, some private alternative loan lenders will allow international student applications. Student Account Services also has an installment plan option. For additional resources, students can visit the International Center

UKNow: How often should students apply and/or update their FAFSA? 

McKinney: A FAFSA is submitted each academic year, so a student will want to complete a new FAFSA each year when it opens, typically on Oct. 1. Completing the FAFSA early increases a student’s opportunity for funding. 

UKNow: What is the most important piece of advice for first time applicants filling out their FAFSA? 

McKinney: Each student and parent completing the FAFSA must create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID and password. It is particularly important to keep up with that information — as you will need it to access your FAFSA form every year.   

UKNow: What do parents need to know about FAFSA?  

McKinney: FAFSA is a tool used to determine a family’s ability or financial means of paying for the student’s college education. The FAFSA consists of a student section and parent section. The FAFSA is looking at income from a prior tax year, for example the 2024-25 FAFSA is going to look at taxes filed in 2022. When a parent enters their information on the FAFSA form it does not obligate them to financially incur debt. At UK, we will do everything possible to eliminate financial barriers and reduce or eliminate student loan debt. Finally, parents need to understand FAFSA is a tool used to determine the student’s aid eligibility for a variety of different award types.  

UKNow: When is the deadline to fill out FAFSA for 202425? 

McKinney: The federal deadline to complete the 2024-25 FAFSA is June 30, 2025. However, we strongly encourage all incoming, first-year students to file the FAFSA by March 1, 2024, and returning students should file by April 15, 2024.   

UKNow: If a student, or a family member, still has questions regarding FAFSA, where should they go? 

McKinney: Our office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and we welcome visitors. No appointment is necessary. The ability to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment is also available and can be booked at

We have financial aid counselors who are happy to meet with students and families to address their questions and concerns. We also do several informational FAFSA events throughout the year. 

The most important advice that we can offer right now for those who may be struggling with the FAFSA site issues, or the process, is to keep trying. We have been told by the U.S. Department of Education, they are actively working to address any website issues as they arise, and students and families (or contributors) should continue to attempt to complete the form. 

You can learn more about the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships here.

At the University of Kentucky, students are at the center of all that we do. From the moment you become a Wildcat through graduation and beyond, the Office for Student Success is committed to supporting you. Comprised of five areas and 25 units, together, they have one vision — to help students live a life of meaning. Student Success works through an equitable, holistic and inclusive lens to design and deliver unparalleled services and support a diverse community of learners in achieving their wildest ambitions. In the Office for Student Success this is what we do — this is who we are. You can explore resources available to you here. If you have additional questions, you can reach a Student Success team member by calling the helpline 859-218-YouK (9685).