Understanding the FAFSA
WHAT IS FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is available in both English and Spanish. You will need to use it in order to apply for most financial aid, such as federal and state student grants, work-study, and loans, all of which make college or career school more affordable. Your university or college will likely require you to complete the FAFSA as well in order to determine your institutional aid.
The great thing about the FAFSA is that the application process is free at https://fafsa.ed.gov! This is their official website, and you will go there to complete the form! Please use this link or click on the picture to the left. Any site other than this one or any person or party that asks you to pay money to complete the FAFSA is not legitimate.
WHY IS THE FAFSA IMPORTANT?
MONEY! The FAFSA is important because you want and need money for college, of course! Each year, the U.S. Department of Education awards approximately $150 billion to help millions of students like you to pay for college or other forms of post-secondary education. That's a huge amount, a portion of which can be available to you once you complete the FAFSA!
This aid can come in the form of grants, loans, and work-study programs. For more information about grants, visit the Scholarship and Grants tab. For more information about work study and loans, visit the Financial Aid tab.
HOW DO I APPLY?
The easiest way to apply is online at FAFSA on the Web. The neat thing about the online application is that it checks your data before submitting it for processing with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, so you are less likely to make a mistake.
However, if you need or prefer a paper copy call 800-4-FED-AID for free (800-433-3243). You can then send the copy to Federal Student Aid Programs, P.O. Box 7002, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864-0072 for processing.
Make sure you watch for when and where FAFSA Day is held this year!
There you will find finacial aid officers who can help you fill out the form!
WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY?
1) You and Your Parents' Income Tax Return
It is best if you and your parents' file your income tax return(s) before you fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA will request much of the same information, and you'll likely be able to use the time-saving IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA if you file your income tax return beforehand. "
It is possible that you will have to submit your FAFSA before your/ your parents' income tax return has been prepared. That's okay! In this case, estimate your and your parents' income as best as you can and update your information once the taxes have been filed.
2) FSA ID
Think of your FSA ID as "your electronic passport to federal student aid online." It is simply a username and password. You will set it up when you create an account to start your FAFSA on the Web Application. You will need to have one, and your parents will need to have a separate one. If you have siblings who also need to complete the FAFSA, your parent(s) will be able to use the same FSA ID for all of their children's FAFSAs.
You don't have to wait to file your FAFSA to create a FSA ID. You can create one now here and have it on hand later!
3) Your social security number
4) Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
5) Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
6) Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
WHEN DO I NEED TO APPLY?
October 1st of each year is the first day you can file the FAFSA. If you are planning to enroll in college for the academic year of 2023-2024, you should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1, 2022 because state aid and institutional aid are often limited and on a rolling basis. Make sure to check with the colleges to which you are applying to see when they want you to submit your FAFSA by.
Remember that you once you enroll in your college, you must complete a new FAFSA application each academic year to renew your financial aid!
More of a visual learner? Check out the cool tutorial to the left! It walks you through the process of applying.
Have other questions?
Set up an appointment with Mrs. Settle to help you fill out the FAFSA.