Top 10 Facts You Need To Know About The FAFSA
Last updated March 10, 2023
If you’re new to completing the FAFSA, here are 10 facts you need to know!
Completing the FAFSA may qualify you for different types of financial aid.
When you fill out the FAFSA, colleges use this information to see if you are eligible for all types of financial aid – including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study. The FAFSA is free and you can file it online at fafsa.ed.gov
You will use financial information from the past two years.
For example, for the 2022-23 FAFSA, you will use a completed 2020 income tax filing, for the 2023-24 FAFSA, you will use a completed 2021 income tax filing and so on.
The FAFSA becomes available October 1 and is open until June 30.
Many states have priority deadlines in February or March. But don't wait for these deadlines because most states give out money on a first-come first-served basis. This means if you wait too long, you will miss out on thousands of dollars in financial aid.
You will need to provide parent information on the FAFSA.
It is almost impossible to qualify as an independent student if your parents don’t want to support you or provide their information for the FAFSA. The government sees it as their responsibility and you could end up with no aid. Even if they won’t help you with funds, their parental information provided on the FAFSA can help you make the best decision on college costs.
You must use accurate information when filling out your FAFSA.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) can help, as it makes moving information from your taxes to the FAFSA easy. Submitting inaccurate information can cause your FAFSA to be flagged for verification.
You are required to use your FSA ID to complete your FAFSA.
You’re required to create an FSA ID to access, sign, and complete the FAFSA - you will not be able to access your FAFSA without it! If you are creating an FSA ID for the first time it will take up to 3 days to process it, so don’t wait until the last minute. If you are a dependent student, your legal parent will need to create an FSA ID as well.
Some states require you to list schools in a certain order on the FAFSA.
To be considered for state aid, some states require your schools to be listed in a specified order. Be sure to check your state to confirm if the order of schools from your college list will impact your FAFSA. If there are no rules, the best bet is to either put your top school first or just put them all in alphabetical order.
Most states offer free workshops to assist you with your FAFSA completion.
If you need in-person help, talk to your counselor to learn about school and community events to help with the FAFSA process. You can also check out our list of FAFSA help by state.
Colleges and universities will use multiple methods to follow up on your FAFSA.
Make sure your mailing address and email are up-to-date, and check both your physical mailbox and email regularly (spam folders included). Tell your parents to do the same.
If you have questions or need help with your FAFSA, the support is out there!
Talk to the financial aid counselor at the school you are applying to for any questions you have about the FAFSA. At the end of the day the financial aid administrators at each school make the decision of how much and what type of financial aid you can get.
Need more help navigating the financial aid process? We’re here for you! Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to speak with one of our College & Career Advisors!