The majority of students going to college receive some form of financial aid, whether it is student loans for college, scholarships for college students, Federal Pell Grants, or even work-study. These funds are essential for most students as it is the only way for them to complete their college education.
In order to obtain these funds, every student must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This form must be filled out for every year that the student attends college.
While this form may seem overwhelming at first, follow these FAFSA tips to have a better understanding of the process to get financial aid and properly complete your application.
Recommended College Resources
The FAFSA deadline is one of those deadlines that sneaks up on you and is here before you know it. Mark your calendars. This is surely a deadline you won’t want to miss as you don't want to be left out of any possible financial aid disbursement.
The Federal FAFSA deadline is June 30. However, the deadline for your state or school may be different than the Federal deadline and additional forms may need to be filled out. Check with a financial aid administrator at your school about state and school sources of financial aid and deadlines.
When you submit your FAFSA on the web, be sure to take note of the confirmation page and store it for your records as this page has a confirmation number with the exact date and time the form was received and is your proof that you filed on time.
If you miss the deadline, you can still submit your application, just be sure to work with your school’s financial aid office to ensure that your request is reviewed for any remaining funds.
Federal Student Aid ID
A FSA ID is required to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites and to electronically sign your FAFSA form.
Documents Needed for FAFSA
In order to fill out the FAFSA you will need specific documents to ensure that you complete your application accurately. Use the checklist below to determine if you have all of the necessary materials to proceed with your application:
- W2 and/or Tax Forms - If you are a dependent student, you will need copies of this information from your parents. If you are an independent student, you can use your own tax information. If you are married, be prepared to enter your spouse’s information. It is best to complete your tax return BEFORE filing your FAFSA; this will ensure you receive the correct amount of funds for the current year.
- Other Income - If you receive other income besides your employment, such as unemployment, Social Security, child support, etc., then be prepared to enter these amounts.
- Bank Statements - One of the questions on the FAFSA will ask you what the current account balance is in your bank account, so you should be prepared by having your most recent bank statement handy.
- SSN and Drivers License Number - If you do not have your Social Security number and driver’s license number memorized, then have these documents ready as well.
- Assets - If you have any other assets or investments, you will need to know the current value of them so have these documents ready for reference.
- Non US Citizens: If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you will need to make sure you have your permanent resident ID Card.
Finally, check with your school for additional financial aid forms that they may specifically require. Some schools will require a separate packet of forms and may also require additional financial information to determine if you are eligible for any kind of state aid or maybe even specific funds from the school.
Any other questions about the application can be answered at the FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions page.