FAFSA opens for 2023-24 academic year

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, began accepting applications for the 2023-24 academic year on Saturday. 

Minnesota State University, Mankato Assistant Director of Financial Aid Rachel Sherlock said that although the submission window does not close until June of 2023, it is in the best interest of students to apply as soon as they can. 

“I recommend students apply right away in October because there are certain types of need-based aid eligibility, like the work-study program, that have more limited funding pools. If you wait to apply and other people apply earlier than you, there may not be enough funding by the time you apply,” said Sherlock. 

She also hopes to debunk common myths about the FAFSA that MSU students may have. Students might think they cannot submit their FAFSA until later because of taxes. 

“The 2023-24 FAFSA asks for 2021 tax information. That means you or your parents would have already filed, even if they had an extension. All the tax information is ready to go,” said Sherlock. 

There have been many changes to the student financial aid world since COVID-19 began, such as the loan repayment pause or the recent Student Loan Forgiveness Act. The world of financial aid and loans can be hard to navigate, but the financial aid office and Campus Hub are here to assist with the FAFSA process or any other questions. 

“I recommend a Zoom or in-person appointment with a parent if you are a dependent student. That’s usually where people get tripped up with the FAFSA, on the parent information. That way we can go through the whole application together,” Sherlock suggested. 

The financial aid office also provides access to resources outside of federal aid. 

“On our website, we list our top 10 most common private loaners for MSU students which is a good jumping-off point. Students can apply, compare and contrast interest rates, and find the one that’s right for them,” Sherlock said

Students who have accepted loans can check the National Student Loan Database for more information, which may be useful going into the new FAFSA. 

“The National Student Loan Database has all of a student’s loan information. It will list their federal information term by term and if they borrowed from private lenders or banks,” Sherlock said. 

Sherlock also noted that students can seek support from those outside their immediate family when it comes to obtaining private loans. 

“A co-signer on a loan does not have to be a parent– it can be a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a family friend. You want a person with a strong credit history to co-sign your private loans,” Sherlock said. 

Another resource other than the FAFSA for students looking to fund their education can be scholarships. There are many private scholarships online, ranging from essay contests to cooperation sponsorships. MSU has Scholarship Month during February, and students can create an account on Scholarship Finder to apply for grants or scholarships.

Sherlock advised students to reach out with any questions they may have regarding financial aid. 

“Always ask for help. If students run into questions or they aren’t quite sure what to put, always reach out to us. We do many FAFSAs, and we are always happy to help. The FAFSA website itself also has tools to help students,” Sherlock said. 

The FAFSA will remain open until June 30, 2023.

Header Photo: For any students who may have questions regarding financial aid or filling out the FAFSA for the next academic year, the Campus Hub and Financial Aid office are here to help assist your needs. (Julia Barton/The Reporter)

Write to Alexandra Tostrud at

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