The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a way for students to apply for financial aid for college or graduate school. The FAFSA gives out over $120 billion in grants, loans, and work study funds. Although FEA does not require a FAFSA to apply to our scholarship, it is still a great way to save money in your higher education endeavors. Many students miss their opportunity to receive financial assistance in higher education because they fail to successfully complete their FAFSA.
Here’s what you need to know if you are thinking about submitting a FAFSA.
To submit your FAFSA you will need to report a lot of personal and financial information, so there are a few documents you should have on hand before you begin:
- Your social security number (SSN)
- Documents of your reported income, such as bank account balances, records of untaxed income, and investments
- Your federal tax information
- If filing as a dependent, your parent or guardians’ tax information
- A list of the school(s) you will be attending
If you are claimed as a dependent, you should report your parents’ financial information. When reporting your tax returns, use the tax form from two years ago.
The most important part of this process is to be aware of your school and state’s financial deadlines. Each October, the FAFSA application for the following year opens. It is smart to complete your FAFSA early to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines. Some students are also put through an additional process by their home university called Verification, which can extend the process.
When you are ready to apply, go to fafsa.gov to create an account and submit your FAFSA online. If you would rather submit it by mail, you can download a pdf from fafsa.gov or request a printed copy by calling 1-800-433-3243. Sometimes your college or school will even submit your FAFSA for you, so it is always a good idea to ask!
After you submit your FAFSA, the schools you listed will get back to you with a summary of the financial aid you would receive if you went to that school! And that’s it. It can be a time-consuming, exhausting process to complete the FAFSA application, but the effort is worth it when you receive the funding you need to pay for school.
Here are some other helpful resources when submitting your FAFSA: