FAFSA 101

Financial aid is money awarded to students pursing a higher-level education such as attending a technical school, community college or a four-year university. This money can be used to pay for tuition and fees, housing, transportation, school supplies and books.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is required to receive federal financial aid. It determines how much financial help you qualify for from the federal government. Many universities require students to submit a FAFSA to determine how much financial aid they will provide as well. Therefore, FAFSA is a crucial part of the college admission process.

Does your student qualify for federal financial aid? Your student must: 

  1. be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the United States of America
  2. have a Social Security Number
  3. have a high school diploma or equivalent
  4. be enrolled in a higher education institution as a regular student
  5. maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  6. not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  7. if male, be registered with the Selective Service System
  8. not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid

What does your student need to complete their FAFSA? 

  1. Federal Student Aid (FSA) account
  2. Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number (for non-U.S. citizens)
  3. Federal income tax return (W2 or retrieve from IRS Data Retrieval Tool)
  4. Bank account statements (if applicable)
  5. Records of investments (if applicable)
  6. Records of untaxed income (if applicable)

Note: If your students are dependent, they will also need the above information for their parents or legal guardian.

The FAFSA application for the upcoming academic school year opens every October 1st. The deadline for FAFSA is officially June 30th; however, it can be earlier for your students if their institution uses it to offer college aid. The deadlines set for each college can usually be found on their website.

It is important to note that the FAFSA is awarded on a first-come, first serve basis. If you have students who will be attending a higher education institution during the 2019-2020 school year, encourage them to complete the application at fafsa.gov,  print out the PDF version here or even download the app version!

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