What is FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.
Type of Federal Student Aid
Graduate or professional students may be eligible to receive aid from the following federal student aid programs:
- Federal Pell Grant- A Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. You may be eligible to receive one if you are enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program. Amounts can change yearly.
- Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program - The FWS Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. This program allows you to earn money to help pay education expenses and encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.
- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program - This is the largest federal student loan program. Under this program, the college is your lender rather than a bank or other financial institution. There are two types of Direct Loans that graduate or professional students enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate may receive:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans—Eligible students may borrow up to $20,500 per school year. Graduate or professional students enrolled in certain health profession programs may receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan amounts each academic year. Contact your school’s financial aid office for details.
- Direct PLUS Loans—Eligible graduate or professional students who need to borrow more than the maximum unsubsidized loan amounts to meet their education costs may apply for a PLUS loan. A credit check will be completed during the application process.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant - The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. This program is different from other federal student grants in that it requires you to take certain kinds of classes to get the grant, and then to do a certain kind of job to keep the grant from being converted to a loan.
Other types of Financial Aid are:
- Aid from other Federal Agencies - To find funding from other agencies visit StudentAid.gov/types
- State Aid - Find state grant agency contact information at www.ed.gov/sgt
- School Aid - To find out the types of aid your school offers, contact your school’s financial aid office.
Source: studentaid.ed.gov https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types
How can I tell if I’m eligible?
To qualify for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study funds), you must meet certain eligibility requirements. Some of FAFSA’s general eligibility requirements are that you must validate financial need (for most programs); be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen; have a social security number and be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program. Learn more about the basic eligibility requirements for federal student aid at StudentAid.gov/eligibility. Most colleges and many private scholarship sponsors require students to submit their FAFSA to be considered for financial aid.
Filling for FAFSA on time
You must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to apply for federal student aid—that’s government money for college or career school. Financial aid offices use information from the FAFSA to determine whether you are eligible to receive federal grants, loans, or work-study funds. States and schools also use the information from the FAFSA to determine whether you qualify for additional aid. Be sure to fill out a FAFSA even if you think you won’t qualify for federal aid.
What will you need
- Prior-prior year tax forms (ex. 2019-2020 FAFSA requires 2017 taxes)
- Checking and savings totals
- Amount of untaxed income
- Net worth
- Demographic information:
- SSNs (Student and Parents)/Alien Registration Number
- Dates of Births
- Full Legal Names
- Dates of marriage/separation
- Address and phone numbers
The FAFSA becomes available on Oct. 1 for the next school year. If you want to be considered for aid from your state or college, you must meet its FAFSA deadline. State deadlines: If you plan to go to college in the fall, your state financial aid deadline is probably going to be between March and May, though some states request that you submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1. So in that case, if you planned to start college in the fall, you’d fill out your FAFSA nearly a year ahead of time. The FAFSA site at fafsa.gov lists many state deadlines and tells you how to find yours if it’s not listed.
College financial aid deadlines may be as early as February. For a college’s deadline, check the school’s website or contact its financial aid office.
The FAFSA open and deadline dates
The open date for 2019-20 is Oct. 1, 2018 and the deadline is June 30, 2020