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Apply for Financial Aid

The most important basic step for all students who wish to apply for financial aid is to submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online. For students planning to enroll in fall 2024, the FAFSA is undergoing some significant changes as part of the federal government's FAFSA Simplification Act.  We know that these changes introduce some uncertainty into your financial aid process. But don't worry! McDaniel will be with you every step of the way.


Although the exact day the new FAFSA will be available has not been announced, we know it will be in December 2023.


McDaniel’s school code is 002109 and must be added to your FAFSA for us to receive it.

Blanche Ward Hall

Successfully Navigating the New FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the primary source for determining your eligibility for federal financial aid. The FAFSA must be completed each academic year you are interested in receiving Federal Student Aid.

What is the "new" FAFSA you keep hearing about?

For the 2024-2025 academic year, the FAFSA will be undergoing a lot of big changes. In the end, these changes should result in an easier and shorter FAFSA process and more federal aid for many students. But for students applying in 2023-2024 for the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year, the changes will impact your financial aid timeline and process.

It's our goal to work closely with McDaniel families to share information about the new FAFSA in a clear and timely manner.

Your Student Aid Index (SAI)

The information you report on your FAFSA is used to calculate a Student Aid Index (SAI) according to a formula set by Congress. The Student Aid Index (SAI) is a replacement for the previous Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and is a calculation of the amount of federal need-based financial aid a student is eligible to receive. Once you complete your FAFSA, McDaniel will receive your SAI and identify your eligibility for additional grants or scholarships.

Completing the FAFSA

Typically, the FAFSA becomes available on October 1. Due to the implementation of the new FAFSA, we have been told it will not be available for the 2024-2025 academic year until sometime in December 2023. Since an exact date has not been determined, we recommend planning on completing your FAFSA as early as possible following January 1, 2024.

While the FAFSA is not a difficult application to complete, it does take some time and effort. If you have specific questions on completing your FAFSA you can contact the McDaniel College Financial Aid Office or visit the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website at

March 1: Priority FAFSA Deadline

Regardless of the launch date of the FAFSA, McDaniel maintains a March 1 Priority Deadline. This not only allows sufficient time for McDaniel to process your financial aid, but it also aligns with the deadline for eligibility for many Maryland state grants. This is free money for MD residents that you don't have to pay back, so meeting this deadline is important.

Remember that the financial aid process does take some time so it should be started as soon as possible. The sooner you apply the more likely the Financial Aid Office can guarantee your financial aid will be ready when school starts.

Important Reminders

  • The FAFSA is a FREE application
  • You are required to complete the FAFSA each year to continue receiving financial aid
  • Your financial aid may change each year depending on your FAFSA results. Items most likely to change are your federal, state or McDaniel need-based grants
  • You may complete your FAFSA beginning October 1 of each year
  • The Priority Deadline for McDaniel is March 1
  • The FAFSA process can be lengthy - apply early
  • McDaniel's school code is 002109