Press Release: ICYMI: Gov. Evers, DFI, and HEAB Encourage Wisconsinites to Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)

Office of Governor Tony Evers
ICYMI: Gov. Evers, DFI, and HEAB Encourage Wisconsinites to Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)
Nearly 6,000 fewer Wisconsin applications have been completed compared to this time last year
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB), today again encouraged Wisconsin students and families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for the 2024-25 academic year. The governor previously urged students and families to complete the application for financial aid during the national FAFSA® Week of Action between April 15 and April 19, 2024.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education as of April 25, 2024, Wisconsin is still down nearly 6,000 FAFSA® submissions completed compared to the same time last year. As traditional college decision days take place over the coming weeks, the governor continues to encourage high school counselors, principals, superintendents, after-school programs, parent groups, nonprofit organizations, and local and state education organizations to assist students and families in completing the FAFSA® as the first step toward achieving their college and career aspirations.

“Higher education should be affordable and accessible to all those who choose to pursue it. Completing the FAFSA® is the first step toward qualifying for financial aid to pay for college, graduate school, and career training programs,” said Gov. Evers in a statement during the national FAFSA® Week of Action. “I encourage all high school seniors, college students, and Wisconsinites interested in pursuing higher education to complete the FAFSA® and necessary steps to unlock and access additional financial aid resources that can help support their success in higher education.”

The FAFSA®, filed annually, is the gateway to virtually all federal, state, and institutional financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans, plus many private scholarship providers require it as well. For those looking to enroll in postsecondary education during the 2024-25 academic year, it’s important to submit the FAFSA® as soon as possible and take time to understand the various deadlines that apply. To help students and families complete the FAFSA®, Gov. Evers, DFI, and HEAB offer the following tips:
  • Gather the Documents Needed to Apply – Both students and parents should gather the documents needed to apply for the 2024-25 FAFSA®, including: Social Security numbers, tax returns, records of child support received, current balances of cash, savings, and checking accounts, and net worth of investments, businesses, and farms. Having this information ready before you begin the application can help expedite the process and alleviate stress.
  • Create a Account – The first step, before filling out the FAFSA®, is to create a account. On the 2024-25 FAFSA®, every contributor, including the student and biological or adoptive parent, who’s required to provide information on the FAFSA® needs a account before accessing and completing their section of the online form. When creating an account, the contributor will need to enter their name, date of birth, and Social Security number exactly as it appears on their Social Security card. Once created, contributors can access their account by using their account’s username and password, also known as their Federal Student Aid ID.
  • Complete the FAFSA® During FAFSA® Week of Action – Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis or from programs with limited funds. The earlier students and families complete the FAFSA®, the better their chances are to be in line for that aid. The 2024-25 FAFSA® is available now. It takes most people less than one hour to fill out the 2024-25 FAFSA®, including gathering any personal documents and financial information needed to complete it.
  • Provide Consent and Approval – The Financial Aid Direct Data Exchange, replacing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA®, will transfer contributors’ federal tax information from the IRS directly into the 2024-25 FAFSA®. All contributors must provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information transferred into the FAFSA®; otherwise, the student will not be eligible for federal student aid—even if the contributor manually enters tax information into the FAFSA®.
  • Be mindful of potential errors – Mistakes on the FAFSA® could delay an application, meaning students and families could possibly lose out on some financial aid. Entering incorrect Social Security numbers or forgetting to sign the application are some of the most common errors.
“Completing the FAFSA® is your ticket to being considered for financial aid, including aid you don’t have to repay,” said DFI Secretary Cheryll Olson-Collins during the national FAFSA® Week of Action. “Every year, families nervously await and often postpone filling out the FAFSA®. Some even skip it entirely because they think it’s a waste of time and only a fast track to federal student loans. However, the FAFSA® package also includes college scholarships and grants, which is all money students and parents don’t have to pay back. Not filling it out can result in families losing money that could have helped them pay for college or career training. I encourage all Wisconsin students and families to submit a FAFSA® whether they think they will qualify for aid or not.”

According to updated data from the U.S. Department of Education, as of April 25, 2024, there have been 22,194 FAFSA® completions in Wisconsin compared to 28,058 submissions from this time last year—constituting a drop of nearly 6,000. Data from the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) FAFSA® Tracker as of April 19, 2024, show that 29.5 percent of the high school class of 2024 in Wisconsin has completed a FAFSA®. Nationally, the NCAN FAFSA® Tracker shows 32.9 percent of the high school class of 2024 had completed a FAFSA® through April 19, 2024, a 29.1 percent decrease compared to the last academic year. To see FAFSA® completion data by high school and public school district, visit Federal Student Aid’s FAFSA® completion reports webpage.

“Many colleges and states, including Wisconsin, use the FAFSA® to determine both federal aid and eligibility for need-based state financial aid programs,” said HEAB Administrative Policy Advisor Sherrie Nelson during the national FAFSA® Week of Action. “Wisconsin students and families should complete the FAFSA® for the 2024-25 academic year as soon as possible because many need-based financial aid programs are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.”

In Wisconsin, College Goal Wisconsin, an all-volunteer program that includes the commitment and support of many state agencies, businesses, secondary schools, colleges, and universities, helps students and families with the timely completion of the FAFSA®. In addition, the Fair Opportunity Project is a nationally-recognized, federally-funded education nonprofit that helps students and families complete the FAFSA® as well.

For more information about Wisconsin’s student financial aid, including grant, scholarship, and loan programs, tuition reciprocity agreements, and tuition capitation contracts, visit HEAB’s website at For more information about college and career readiness, student loan borrowing and repayment, and the Wisconsin 529 College Savings Program, visit DFI’s website at

Students and families with questions about the FAFSA® should contact Federal Student Aid or the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC), which provides support on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. For more FAFSA® tips, follow Federal Student Aid on Facebook, Instagram, X (formally Twitter), and YouTube for informational videos and educational webinars.
An online version of this release is available here.