About the FAFSA
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the basic application form that is required from any student who wishes to apply for federal financial aid. The FAFSA is the measuring stick for your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution. Your EFC is how much the government believes your family can contribute to your college tuition that year. If your EFC is less than the cost of attendance, you qualify for need-based aid. Many families qualify for need-based aid, but this can only be determined if you fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA is also required when applying for unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Parent PLUS loans, and GradPLUS loans, none of which are need-based.
If you don’t file the FAFSA, you forfeit your chance to receive federal aid. This can mean leaving thousands of dollars in low-interest, potentially subsidized, federal loans on the table. Most colleges and universities also require the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for their own grants and scholarships.
Federal aid is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so applying early is recommended. If an applicant has already submitted a FAFSA, that applicant can still submit a FAFSA for renewal or alteration to the previous information given. After review by a federal processor, the student will receive a Student Aid Report that summarizes the information provided on the FAFSA. If there are no errors, an electronic version is sent to the schools the student selected on the FAFSA.
- Be a U.S. citizen, or an eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Should be registered with the U.S. Selective Service if they are a male ages 18-25.
- Promise through FAFSA that the financial aid will be used for educational purposes only.
- Not be in default on any student loan or owe any money for any federal grants.
- Not be found guilty of possession or selling illegal drugs while being a recipient of federal financial aid.
The most commonly sought after financial aids through FAFSA are Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans, and the Federal Work-Study program in which the students can work part-time and have 75% of their payments refunded by the government.
Filing the FAFSA
Applicants can apply online through the U.S. Department of Education website, or complete a paper-application and mail it in, or they can refer to a professional fee-based preparer for assistance.
EFC stands for Estimated Family Contribution, which plays an important role when applying for federal financial aid. The formula by which federal aid is awarded includes estimated family contributions toward the cost of attendance. Dependent students are required to include their parent’s W2 and income tax information. And if the student is applying as an independent, they need to include their own financial information.
Is there a FAFSA deadline for my application?
Yes, there are deadlines for FAFSA applications for each state and college.You can submit the FAFSA every year, and you must continually renew it. To get more information about the FAFSA deadline, visit fafsa.ed.gov.
Can you tell me about FAFSA student loans?
Students who need to apply for financial assistance have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form allows the government to calculate the amount of a student’s financial need based on the information provided.
Should I apply for FAFSA financial aid even if I think I am not eligible?
If you think that your family income is too high for you to be considered for financial assistance then you should apply anyways. There are plenty of assistance packages and you may be eligible for some of them regardless of your family income. You should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFAA) and see what assistance programs you qualify for.
What is the procedure for FAFSA renewal?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be renewed each year. Even if your financial information has not changed, all applicants for financial aid are required to participate in FAFSA renewal. The FAFSA renewal application has to be resubmitted each year so the authorities can access the financial condition and decide the amount to the awarded to the applicant after an entire year.
What are FAFSA school codes?
FAFSA school codes are codes given to every college or university where enrolled students can receive financial aid. To streamline the system, the United States Department of Education has given code numbers to all schools and colleges. Students should supply the FAFSA school codes for each institution they are applying to or for the institution they are enrolled in to ensure proper delivery of their information.
How do I check my FAFSA status?
In order to find your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) status, you need to login to your online account at the United States Department of Education, the same site where you submitted your online FAFSA. You can check the status of your application at any time after you have submitted it. The amount of federal aid awarded depends on the student’s need for finances, and this is determined from the information on your FAFSA. Students can look for other funding options if the awarded federal aid does not satisfy their need.
- FAFSA Home
- Deadlines for Filing
- Demystifying the FAFSA
- FAFSA Season and the Financial Aid Reality Check
- Exit Counseling
- Filling it out for the Self-Employed
- Financial Stability
- How the FAFSA Challenged Us to Find Alternative Funding
- How to Determine Independent or Dependent Student Status
- Making Corrections
- Requirements for Filing
- Revising: A Primer for Parents
- The Calculations Behind the Application
- The FAFSA: That Wasn't So Bad After All
- The FAFSA: Your gateway to financial aid
- Tips on Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- To-Do Lists, Anxiety, and Preparing for College
- What Happens After the FAFSA?
- Why Submit the FAFSA?
- You filed the application, but do you know what it stands for?