Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important form you should fill out and submit to determine if you’re eligible for financial aid. Here you can learn more about the FAFSA process and find resources to ensure that you successfully complete this crucial step. Now more than ever, the FAFSA can be a tremendous way to help secure your future college pathway. Get started now.
Not sure where to start? We have a few recommendations. Watch these videos courtesy of the Federal Student Aid website and Education Quest. If you still need help, book an appointment with one of our Student Success Coaches, or register for one of our FAFSA Open House Workshops.
How to Create an Account and Username (FSA ID) for StudentAid.gov
After the FAFSA: What Happens Next
Completing the FAFSA is the only way to determine your eligibility for many different kinds of scholarships based on financial need. There are thousands of dollars in need-based awards available to students who qualify, but only if you submit the FAFSA. The most well-known is the Federal Pell Grant, which is a multibillion-dollar scholarship program that can be worth over $5,000 per year for the nation’s highest need students. Many colleges also offer their own need-based award programs, which can range into the tens of thousands of dollars, and some local scholarships are need-based as well. They all rely on results from the FAFSA to guide their decisions. Filling out the FAFSA offers potential access to all of these resources and more, so it’s important to know if you qualify. But it’s equally important to know if you do not qualify so that you can limit your search to scholarships that are not based on financial need. Either way, completing the FAFSA gives you this crucial information, and the sooner you have it, the better.
The FAFSA is an application that requires detailed financial information from your parents or guardians, so you’ll have to plan ahead. Make time to sit down with them to explain how important it is, and plan to get started in October of your senior year. Although it’s best if your parents or guardians have completed their current-year tax return before filling out the FAFSA, that is not a requirement. There is also a much shorter version of the FAFSA that will give you an easy but unofficial result. It might be worth a quick check before spending time on the actual FAFSA.
To fill out your FAFSA, you will need the following:
Social security numbers for students and parents
2021 tax return or record of money earned.
Records of investments, other income not reported elsewhere, or both.
Records of FSA ID for students and parents.
IMPORTANT: Seniors should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible starting October 1st.
Once you have submitted your FAFSA, you’ll have to wait several days for the results. Eventually, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of your answers plus vital information on your eligibility status. Be sure to review this entire report carefully, especially to see if there were any errors or problems while processing your information.
Next, look for the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) value. After examining your family’s finances and your own earnings, savings, or both, the government calculates a hypothetical amount as the approximate dollars for the family to pay towards college. The amount of your EFC also determines whether or not you qualify for many (but not all) types of need-based aid.