Don’t forget to list our FAFSA Code:
The FAFSA: the most important
nancial aid form you’ll ever ll out
The Free Application for Federal
Student Aid, or FAFSA, is used
by colleges and the federal
government to determine your
eligibility for grants, need-based
scholarships, loans and work-
study programs.
The FAFSA becomes available each year on October
1, and the sooner you submit it, the more aid will
be available to you. Each school and some states
have their own priority deadlines as well. You can
look up your state’s deadline here.
Get Ready!
Filing the FAFSA isn’t as
complicated or time-consuming
as it sounds – a little preparation
will help make the process go
smoothly. Use this worksheet to
get a sneak preview of what the
form looks like and the questions it asks!
Before you can submit your FAFSA, you’ll need to
create your FSA ID. You’ll need an FSA ID to log in
to your account, sign the FAFSA and make changes
or add schools. You and your parent must create
separate FSA IDs.
Get Filing!
An FSA ID. Your FSA ID allows you to log in
to your account, sign the FAFSA and make
changes or add schools. You and your parent
must create separate FSA IDs. Create this
You and your parent’s Social Security or
Alien Registration number. Here’s what to do
if your parent doesn’t have a Social Security
Driver’s license (if you have one)
Your and your parent’s federal income tax
returns and W-2s from 2019 (you can use
the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import this
Bank statement
If applicable, other records of money
earned, and records of investments and
untaxed income
Here’s a checklist of everything you and your
parent need to ll out, sign and submit the
Don’t worry if you can’t nd these materials right away:
you can start the FAFSA and come back as many times
as you need to update information or add schools. The
important thing is to get started!
Get Help
Don’t worry about getting stuck while you’re lling out the FAFSA – lots of help
is available, starting with your school’s nancial aid ofce. They’ll help you with any
questions you have at any step of the process.
On the FAFSA app and website, there are tooltips next to each question, detailed help
pages and a chat option. There’s also an 800 number to call (1-800-4FED-AID).
Watch this webinar for a line-by-line demo of how to ll out the FAFSA!
The FAFSA even has its own YouTube channel! Check it out for step-by-step instructions on creating an
FSA ID and lling out the form, help understanding different types of aid and more.
You can le your FAFSA on your phone with the
myStudentAid app! It’s free at the Apple App Store
(iOS) or the Google Play store (Android). You can also
request a form be sent to you so you can mail it back
in by calling 1-800-4FED-AID.
I need a computer to le the FAFSA.
Filing the FAFSA is free – it’s right there in
the name! Avoid any website or mobile app
that requires a payment – that means it isn’t the
ofcial FAFSA site or the ofcial myStudentAid app.
I need to pay a fee to le the FAFSA.
The average time to complete a FAFSA is only 22-30
minutes. Here’s a worksheet you can use to get an
idea of what the form looks like and what information
it asks for. There’s also lots of help available – even a
FAFSA YouTube channel!
It takes a really long time to ll out
the FAFSA.
The information the FAFSA collects includes things you
can easily access, like your Social Security number,
bank statements and driver’s license. You don’t even
have to have your tax forms on hand: there’s a tool
that can pull them in automatically for you! See a
checklist of the information you need to le the FAFSA.
The FAFSA asks for a lot of information
and I won’t be able to nd it.
It depends. There are many situations when you only
need one parent’s information to complete the FAFSA
and you might not even need that. The FAFSA
considers many different family situations, and so will
your college’s nancial aid ofce. Learn more about
parent involvement.
I need both parents’ information
to complete the FAFSA.
The FAFSA not only enables you to apply for federal
grants and low-interest loans, it’s also the form that
states and individual colleges use to determine your
need-based aid. Check the FAFSA submission deadline
for your state here.
I don’t need to ll out the FAFSA.
Students who fall into certain non-citizen statuses
are eligible for federal nancial aid. See a list here.
Your parents’ citizenship does NOT impact your
eligibility. For information on nancial aid options for
DACA recipients, click here.
I need to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible
for nancial aid.
You can use what’s called “prior-prior year” taxes to
complete the FAFSA. That means that for the 2021
FAFSA, you can use 2019 information.
My family must have led their tax
returns before I can le the FAFSA.
Get the Real Story!
There’s a lot of misinformation about ling the FAFSA. It’s important you know the truth so you can take
this critical rst step in getting the money you need to attend college.
Don’t forget to list our FAFSA Code:
Expected Family Contribution (EFC):
The amount that the federal government believes
your family can contribute to one year of college.
Colleges use this, among other things, to determine
nancial need.
Cost of Attendance (COA):
An estimate of how much it costs to attend a
college. The COA includes the price of tuition and
fees, room and board, books and supplies and other
expenses associated with attending that school.
Financial need:
The difference between Expected Family Contribution
(EFC) and a college’s Cost of Attendance (COA).
Net price:
How much it will cost you to attend a college for
one year after your scholarships and grants, loans
and work-study subtracted from the COA.
Student Aid Report (SAR):
This report shows you what data is on your FAFSA,
some information about the aid for which you’re
eligible and your Expected Family Contribution
(EFC). See a sample SAR here.
Subsidized loan:
A need-based loan on which you don’t pay interest
while you’re in school.
Unsubsidized loan:
A loan for which you don’t have to demonstrate
nancial need, but you’re responsible for the interest.
A monetary gift that doesn’t have to be repaid.
It can be one-time or renewable, and based on
grades, talents or other criteria.
A part-time job for students with nancial need.
You can contact your school’s nancial aid ofce at any time if you need some help understanding terms
like these. They’ll be happy to help you translate them!
For more common terms you’ll see throughout the nancial aid process, check out this glossary from the
Department of Education.
You could be surprised to nd out how affordable college may be – the only way to know is to le the
FAFSA! Check out to get started now, learn more about how nancial aid works and
explore options for paying for college.
Get Your Aid!
Once you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR), and your
information will be shared with the schools you indicated on your FAFSA form.
Here are some key terms you’ll see on your SAR and on the nancial aid packages you’ll
receive from the schools you listed on your FAFSA:
Don’t forget to list our FAFSA Code:
Our Office of Financial Aid will work with you to ensure you have access to the resources you need to pay for college.
Our goal is to make sure all qualified applicants can invest in an education here.
If you have any questions about financial aid, need help filling out the FAFSA or encounter special financial
circumstances your family is experiencing due to COVID, please call us at (804) 123-5678 or email us.
Learn about our COA here.
Use our Net Price Calculator to estimate your net price.
Find out more about our work-study options.