FAFSA: General Information
FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) This is the application you must fill out to be considered for College Financial Aid.
The FAFSA opens on October 1 each year.
It depends on the colleges you are applying to. They all have different deadlines. See the Financial Aid page on each college website.
- General Rule of Thumb: Submit by Dec. 1
- If you might qualify for Need-Based Aid: Submit by Nov. 1
1-2 hours if you do IRS Data Retrieval within the FAFSA. IRS Data Retrieval will pull your IRS Tax Data right into the FAFSA. It saves a lot of time and we do recommend doing this.
Yes, you must fill it out every year.
Most colleges only require that students fill out the FAFSA to be considered for institutional aid.
However, some colleges also require students to fill out the CSS Profile in order to receive Institutional Aid (aid directly from the college).
To find out if a school requires the CSS Profile, go to: CSS Participating Colleges
More about the CSS Profile:
Step-by-Step Guide to Filling out the FAFSA
Step 1: Get your FSA ID’s
- What is a FSA ID? FSA ID’s are required in order to apply for Financial Aid.
- You will use these ID’s to sign your online FAFSA, make corrections, and more.
- The “FSA ID” replaces “PIN Numbers” required in the past. Pin Numbers have been phased out and all students (even students already in college) and parents need to get a new FSA ID.
- Who needs a “FSA ID”? The student needs to get an ID and one parent will need a FSA ID.
- Which parent? If parents are not married, the parent who’s information will be on the FAFSA will get the FSA ID
- Students!!! Use your personal email address (not NDA email); you will complete the FAFSA every year of college…and need this email address to be still active.
- How do we get ID’s?
- Go to: FSA ID Website
Step 2: Start the FAFSA
- When you are ready to fill out the FAFSA go to: wwwstudentaid.gov
Financial Aid - Frequently Asked Questions:
- Yes, it is highly recommended that you visit the website of each school where students are applying to access the school’s NET PRICE CALCULATOR. Schools are required by law to provide a NET PRICE CALCULATOR on their websites. These are free tools that give prospective students an estimate of the cost to attend each college.
Yes, students will need to complete the FAFSA every year they are in college. For example, starting October 1st of a student’s freshman year of college he/she must complete the FAFSA again. They will use their same FSA ID and the Parent FSA ID will be used again as well.
- FAFSA offers very helpful Customer Service!
- If you need assistance or have any questions about filling out the FAFSA, this is a great resource!
- FAFSA Assistance: 1-800-433-3243
- Contact the Financial Aid Office at the college(s) you are applying to.
Where does Financial Aid come from?
- Federal Aid – The federal government offers financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and federal work-study programs. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the form that must be submitted in order to qualify for Federal Aid.
- State Aid – Individual states may offer student financial aid, but eligibility for state aid is based on results from the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). A student cannot qualify to receive state aid if he/she does not file the FAFSA.
- Institutional Aid – Individual schools can offer student financial aid as well. Most schools only require that students fill out the FAFSA to be considered for institutional aid. However, some schools also require students to fill out the CSS Profile in order to receive institutional aid. To find out if a school requires the CSS Profile, go to the Admissions webpage, Financial Aid webpage, or contact an Admissions Counselor at the school. To learn more about the CSS Profile click here: CSS Profile Information.