Federal Student Aid is part of the US Department of Education. Financial aid for college students comes from your federal and state governments and from your college. Federal aid includes Perkins Loans, Pell Grants, Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and student loans. Your state provides tuition assistance programs and scholarships. Your college may offer grants, scholarships, loans and work programs. If you are working full-time, your employer may also offer tuition assistance. Here is what you need to know…
Before You Apply
- Your driver’s license or state identification
- Your social security number
- In the case where you are a dependent student, gather your parent’s income tax returns, W-2 forms, bank statements, social security numbers, records of unearned income, and records of investments. You will need these items too, if you have worked and filed a tax return.
How to Start Your FAFSA Application
You can fill out the Federal aid application online or you can download an application and mail it in.
The FAFSA website connects to the IRS if you want to retrieve tax data.
There is a benefit estimator on the website. You will need to know what your college charges for tuition and what your income is.
You can list up to 10 schools on your application. These schools will electronically receive your information.
- Check for and meet the filing deadlines. Ask your college about this! There are three deadlines; one for your state, one for your college, and one for the federal government. You can see this information at the FAFSA website.
- Income data can be estimated if you have not completed tax forms yet.
- You should apply for financial aid every year! Your situation may change and so may the financial aid benefits.
- Don’t pay for tuition aid advice. You can get this for free from your school or your state. Look for financial aid workshops in your area.
- Your state financial aid application website might be connected to FAFSA and will pre-fill your information.
You will receive your award letter from your college’s financial aid office. You will have to accept or reject the offers for a loan or for aid. You might be offered a work-study program in which you can work part-time while attending school.