Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students in both undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States. Tax information is the major form of documentation that is used determine eligibility for student financial aid and the amount of aid that will be awarded. Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid. Students who may not be eligible for need-based aid may still be eligible for an unsubsidized Stafford Loan regardless of income or circumstances.
A student who can meet all of the following criteria may be eligible for aid:
- has registered with the Selective Service System (for Conscription in the United States) between the ages of 18 and 25, if required to do so (females are excluded from this requirement);
- maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP);
- is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an eligible non-citizen;
- has a valid Social Security number;
- has a high school diploma or GED;
- sign the certification statement stating that: 1) not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant and 2) federal student aid will only be used for educational purposes;
- has not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs while federal aid was being received.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, the FAFSA is made available to the public on October 1. Additionally, 2-year old US tax information is used to complete the financial sections of the FAFSA beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year. This change in using "prior-prior tax year" information enables families to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA to verify their tax information without a delay from the IRS processing tax information. Most financial aid is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and students are encouraged to submit a FAFSA as soon as possible.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's website, students have three preparation options:
online at fafsa.ed.gov
by telephone at 1-800-433-3243
College Scorecard: Information on college costs, graduation, and post-college earnings.
Deadlines: Information about your deadlines.
School Code Search: Find your college's school code. Also find detailed information about your college.
FAFSA Filing Options: Learn about the other options for filing your FAFSA.
All of the information provided on this page comes including logo comes from the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.