First step toward getting federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school.

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the first step toward getting federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school.

To apply for federal student aid, you need to complete the FAFSA® (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
fill out fafsa button

Completing and submitting the FAFSA® is free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.
In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.




Why should I fill out the FAFSA®?

If you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid! We’ve heard a number of reasons students think they shouldn’t complete the FAFSA. Here are a few:
  • “I (or my parents) make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”
  • “Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
  • “The FAFSA is too hard to fill out.”
  • “I’m too old to qualify for financial aid.”
If you think any of these statements apply to you, then you should read “Myths About Financial Aid.” The reality is, EVERYONE who's getting ready to go to college or career school should fill out the FAFSA!


When do I fill out the FAFSA®?

The 2016–17 FAFSA has been available since Jan. 1, 2016, and the 2017–18 FAFSA will launch on Oct. 1, 2016.
There are different FAFSA deadlines for different programs:
Aid ProgramDeadline Information
Federal student aidFor the 2016–17 year, you can apply between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. (For the 2017–18 year, you will be able to apply between Oct. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018.) However, there are a few federal student aid programs that have limited funds, so be sure to apply as soon as you can once the FAFSA is available for the year you’ll be attending school.
State student aidYou can find state deadlines at fafsa.gov or on the paper or PDF FAFSA.
College or career school aidCheck the school’s website or contact its financial aid office. School deadlines are usually early in the year (often in February or March).
Other financial aidSome programs other than government or school aid require that you file the FAFSA. For instance, you can’t get certain private scholarships unless you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant—and you can’t find out whether you’re eligible for a Pell Grant unless you file a FAFSA. If the private scholarship’s application deadline is in early to mid-January, you’ll need to submit your FAFSA before that deadline.
As you can see, it’s a good idea to file the FAFSA as soon as it’s available so you don’t miss out on anything.
You have to fill out the FAFSA® every year you’re in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid.


How do I fill out the FAFSA®?

There are several ways to file:
  • Online at fafsa.gov is faster and easier than using paper.
  • If you need a paper FAFSA, you can
  • Ask the financial aid office at your college or career school if you can file it there. Some schools will use special software to submit your FAFSA for you.               

What happens after I fill out the FAFSA®?

Applying isn’t the last step; your FAFSA has to be processed, and then you get an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which your college or career school uses to figure out how much aid you can get. Find out more about what happens after you fill out the FAFSA, including how aid is calculated and when and how you’ll get your aid.

 

First step toward getting federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school. First step toward getting federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school. Reviewed by Kelly Miller on August 12, 2016 Rating: 5

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