What is the FAFSA? Everything You Need to Know to Complete the FAFSA form!
Last updated February 15, 2022
Need financial aid to help pay for college? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important, reliable way to get it! The FAFSA is a free government form you fill out to be considered for scholarships, grants, student loans, and job opportunities (a.k.a work study!) to help you afford college.
Have questions about the FAFSA?
Text #FAFSA to 33-55-77 and we'll walk you through every step of filing your FAFSA! If you are not in a position to complete the FAFSA due to immigration/citizenship status, a situation with your family, or anything else, you still can receive financial aid. The FAFSA is not the end-all-be-all of paying for college. Just text us and we'll walk you through alternatives 😁
What is the FAFSA? Where do I start?
Visit fafsa.ed.gov and click “Start Here” to begin filling out your FAFSA. You’ll be asked to provide basic personal and financial information about yourself and your parents (if you live with your parents and are supported by them).
You can also use FAFSA's mobile app and complete the entire form right on your phone! The FAFSA app is easy to use, allows you to track your progress and create an FSA ID for you and your parents, and when you complete your FAFSA, it will automatically send you your student aid summary (which contains all the loans, grants, and any work-study you've been awarded). Further, you can still use the IRS's Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to quickly pull your or your family's income tax information (which can be a pain to track down!).
For most students and their families, filling out the FAFSA takes 30-40 minutes.
What kind of financial aid can I possibly receive by filling out the FAFSA?
- Scholarships – Filling out the FAFSA is often one of the main requirements to be considered for institutional and state-wide need-based and merit scholarships.
- Grants – You apply for federal grants like the Pell grant by filling out the FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA is also a requirement for many state grants.
- Federal Student Loans – Federal student loans will always be the most low-interest and borrower-friendly option for students. The only way to get federal student loans is by filling out the FAFSA.When can I start the FAFSA application?
The FAFSA is available every year starting October 1st. Complete it early and check it off your list. Some colleges and states award more financial aid the earlier you apply. Some states also run out of financial aid (first come, first served), so don't wait!
When is the deadline to complete the FAFSA?
FAFSA priority deadlines vary by state and by college. To check state deadlines visit https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/fafsa-deadlines/ . To check college deadlines visit or call the Financial Aid office of the college you are applying to. The federal deadline is June 30th.
What do l need to fill out the FAFSA?
Dependent students will need the following for both yourself and your parents.
- FSA ID: Create an FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov
- Federal tax returns: When applying online at fafsa.ed.gov you will have the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import your tax information. If you are not eligible you will need to manually enter the tax information and order a Tax Transcript at irs.gov
- Social security number or Alien registration number for eligible non-citizens
- W-2s from your place(s) of employment
- Records of untaxed income
- Supplemental income (such as SNAP, TANF, Social security)
- Cash, savings, and checking account balances
- Assets and investments other than the home in which you live