FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Colleges use the FAFSA to determine individual need.
The U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid program administers the FAFSA. Always make sure you are on the government site: www.fafsa.ed.gov. There are many “for-profit” companies that will charge you a fee to fill out the FAFSA for you. The FAFSA is the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid. Always know your sources when you are submitting private and personal financial information.
After the FAFSA is submitted, a Student Aid Report (SAR) is compiled based on the application information. Individual colleges will use the SAR and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number to determine the amount of financial aid needed. Please check with each individual college’s Office of Financial Aid for their programs and deadlines, as they will differ:
What You Need to Fill Out the FAFSA
You will need records of income earned in the year prior to when you will start school. You may also need records of your parents´ income information if you are a dependent student.
To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will need:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- A Federal Student Aid PIN to sign electronically. (If you do not already have one, visit www.pin.ed.gov to obtain one.
To organize your information, print and complete a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet before you begin entering your information online. https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/ffdef44.htm
Keep these records! You may need them again. Do not mail your records to Federal Student Aid.
FAFSA 4Caster – Estimate your Eligibility
If you would like an early estimate of your FAFSA eligibility, the U.S. Department of Education provides a “FAFSA 4caster”: http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/F4CApp/index/index.jsf
This feature also allows you to transfer your information to the actual application and apply for your personal identification number (PIN).