Each year the federal government provides more than $150 billion in financial aid (grants, work-study, and loans) for college or career school. To apply for this aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Also, state governments and many colleges and career schools use your FAFSA information to award you their aid.
DID YOU KNOW?
Some schools won't consider you for merit scholarships (scholarships based on academic achievement or other talents or skills) until you've submitted a FAFSA, so complete one even if you think you won't qualify for federal aid.
The FAFSA process is quicker and easier when you have a username and password called an FSA ID. (If your parent is providing information on your FAFSA, he or she will need his or her own FSA ID as well). You can do this NOW and do not need to wait until October 1st!!! You will use your FSA ID to electronically sign your FAFSA. Visit https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm to create your FSA ID.
INFORMATION TO GATHER FOR FILLING OUT THE FAFSA
The FAFSA asks questions about you and your finances, so have the information below handy:
- Social Security number
- Alien registration number
- Federal tax information or tax returns
- Records of untaxed income
- Cash savings, and checking account balances
- Investments other than the home which you live
To find out whether you need to report info about your parents, visit StudentAid.gov/dependency.
PROCESSING THE FAFSA
After you submit your FAFSA, your information will be sent to the colleges and/or career schools you listed on the form.
You'll receive an e-mail within a few days letting you know your FAFSA was processed.
Your college or career school might request additional information from you. Make sure you respond by any deadlines.
You'll receive an aid offer from each college or career school you applied to and listed on your FAFSA, stating the amount of aid you could receive at the school. Review and compare your offers, and decide which school to attend based on the school's net cost and how well the school suits your needs.
Get free assistance and answers at fafsa.gov or 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).