Filing the FAFSA 2021-22: A Simple Guide for Students

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is a very powerful monetary assist utility. It’s used to use for monetary assist from the federal student assist program which is obtainable by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. However, many state governments, and most faculties and universities use the knowledge offered on the FAFSA to additionally award monetary assist from their very own applications.

The federal student assist applications supply accessibility to federal grants, federal loans, and federal work-study. All different assist supplied via different sources (like your state or faculty) will differ however can also embrace grant and loan alternatives.

You don’t want to attend till you resolve on which faculty you may be attending; your info could be despatched to a number of colleges.

Even for those who don’t imagine you’re eligible for monetary assist, it’s best to full the FAFSA. It’s a fable that each one monetary assist is need-based.

When Does the FAFSA Need To Be Filed

The FAFSA is just not solely utilized by the federal authorities, nevertheless it’s additionally utilized by states and colleges to assist award monetary assist. When it involves submitting the FAFSA, there are three deadlines it’s best to know.

  • State Deadline
  • School Deadline
  • Federal Deadline

For extra particulars about FAFSA deadlines, take a look at our nice useful resource which offers detailed state deadline info.

Which FAFSA Do I Fill Out?

This isn’t all the time clear. Depending on the time of 12 months, there might be two FAFSA functions to choose from. Make positive you full the FAFSA for the proper 12 months!

  • The 2021-2022 FAFSA is for student who will probably be attending faculty between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. We will probably be focusing our info on this FAFSA.
  • The 2020-2021 FAFSA is for students who will probably be attending faculty between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

Check out our deadlines article for assist with figuring out which FAFSA is best for you. When unsure, ask your Financial Aid Office.

What Do You Need to Fill Out the FAFSA?

There are some things you need to get collectively earlier than you get began with the FAFSA utility. It’s all the time greatest to be ready. Here is what it’s best to have prepared earlier than you bounce into the applying.

Create FSA ID

You can arrange your FSA ID at You can create an FSA ID forward of time, you don’t want to attend till you’re prepared to finish the FAFSA.

No matter which approach you resolve to file, it’s all the time smart to create an FSA ID. Think of your FSA ID as a username and password, as a result of that’s what it’s. Your FSA ID permits you to file the FAFSA (on-line or cellular app), and log into view your federal student loan and grant historical past. You can even use it to electronically signal your FAFSA, and it’s your private authorized signature.

It is strongly beneficial that everybody create their very own FSA ID to keep away from points later. If you overlook your FSA ID, or it’s not working, you’ll have the choice to click on “Forgot My Username” or “Forgot My Password”. If you want extra assist entering into your account, you’ll be able to all the time name the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), for TTY for the deaf or laborious of listening to 1-800-730-8913.

FSA ID Parent

Each one who wants to offer info for a FAFSA will want their very own FSA ID—this implies, not solely students however mother and father might have their very own FSA ID as effectively. An FSA ID will probably be related to the social safety variety of the account holder.

You will want a social safety quantity, and a cell phone quantity and/or e mail tackle. If you don’t have a social safety quantity, you will be unable to create an FSA ID. Parents can nonetheless present their baby with the mandatory info they might want to full the FAFSA utility electronically. Although you received’t be capable to electronically signal the doc with out an FSA ID, you’ll be able to print the signature web page and mail it in.

Documents Needed for FAFSA

  1. Your FSA ID if you’re finishing your FAFSA on-line or via the cellular utility.
  2. Your 2019 Tax Records for the 2021-2022 FAFSA
  3. Records of Untaxed Income, together with, baby help obtained, curiosity earnings, and veterans non-education advantages
  4. Records of Your Assets
  5. A List of Schools You Are Considering
  6. Your Driver’s License (you probably have one)

FAFSA School Selection

You don’t must know precisely the place you need to go but, and you may even make modifications later. But it’s best to pull collectively a listing of all the faculties you have an interest in, even you probably have but to use. The FAFSA provides you a chance to simply listing 10 faculties at a time on the net or on the cellular app (the paper utility will solely mean you can listing 4). Your faculty listing won’t be shared with the faculties listed.

FAFSA School Selection Order

For federal student assist it doesn’t matter in what order you listing your colleges. However, for state assist it would. Double test you state necessities and resolve one of the best ways to order your faculty listing.

FAFSA Change School

It’s okay for those who’re making use of to greater than 10 faculty. Pick 10 to listing first. Wait on your FAFSA to be processed, it may take a little bit of time. The greatest strategy to verify, contact a college you listed and ask them in the event that they obtained your FAFSA info. Once they’ve confirmed, log again into your FAFSA utility and replace your faculty listing.

READ:   Student loan funds: When do they restart?

Financial Aid Help

With all the pieces that you’re managing on this school journey, you is probably not conscious that there are FREE RESOURCES out there to offer assist and steerage alongside the way in which or for those who run into issues.

Financial Aid Eligibility

There are some eligibility standards it is advisable meet with a purpose to qualify for federal student assist:

  • Complete the FAFSA and agree to make use of federal student assist for academic functions.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a sound Social Security quantity (excluding student from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
  • For males, be registered with Selective Service. You might have the choice to register via the FAFSA.
  • Be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, as a daily student in an eligible diploma or certificates* program at a school or college that participates in federal student assist.
  • Have a highschool diploma, the acknowledged equal of a highschool diploma* (together with a General Educational Development (GED) certificates), or have accomplished a highschool curriculum in a house faculty setting that satisfies the state’s necessities for residence education.
    • Students who first enrolled in an accredited faculty or profession faculty earlier than July 1, 2012, or are enrolled in an eligible profession pathway program, might qualify by satisfying alternate standards, akin to passing an accepted ability-to-benefit check or finishing six credit hours or equal course work towards a level or certificates.
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan.
  • Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or loan overpayment.
  • Maintain passable tutorial progress.
  • If you may have sure legal convictions, like a drug conviction that occurred when you had been receiving federal student assist, your assist could also be restricted and/or required to finish steps to regain eligibility.

There are some extra program particular necessities for federal student loans and grants.

*Students with mental difficulties should still be eligible for federal student assist. You should be enrolled in a complete transition and postsecondary (CTP) program, meet all fundamental eligibility necessities, aside from the requirement of a highschool diploma or GED, and also you aren’t required to pursue a level or certificates.

Note: If you don’t meet these standards, ask your faculty if they’d nonetheless such as you to finish the FAFSA®.

Federal Student Loan Eligibility

In addition to the fundamental eligibility necessities, federal student loans require you to be enrolled in your program not less than half-time. The Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loan program has loan limits for the whole you’ll be able to borrow annually, and complete combination (total) limits.

In addition, there’s a time limitation on how lengthy you’ll be able to obtain Direct Subsidized Loans if you’re a first-time borrow on or after July 1, 2013. Your eligibility could also be restricted primarily based in your previous borrowing historical past. If you’ve reached annual or combination borrowing limits within the federal program, it’s possible you’ll want to contemplate non-public student loan choices.


Federal Pell Grant Limits

Under the Federal Pell Grant program, you may be restricted to the equal of six years of Pell Grant funds, or 600% lifetime eligibility. What does this imply? Well, if you’re Pell Grant eligible your faculty will decide your complete award quantity for the 12 months. That complete quantity is taken into account 100% of your eligibility for that 12 months. The precise quantity you obtain all year long will probably be used to find out your use.

For instance, if you’re awarded $5,000 for an award 12 months. Your faculty will provide you with $2,500 on your fall semester, and $2,500 on your spring semester. You attend throughout the fall and obtain your $2,500 award. You are then unable to attend spring semester, and don’t obtain monetary assist. You would have solely used 50% of your Pell lifetime eligibility.

Is FAFSA Required for College Applications

You are usually not required to finish the FAFSA to use to high schools and universities. You will solely full the FAFSA for those who want monetary assist that will help you pay for varsity, and your faculty participates in federal student assist. You can all the time double-check your faculty’s insurance policies to find out what is predicted of you.

Financial Aid Eligibility Graduate School

Graduate students are eligible to obtain federal student assist. Graduate students won’t be eligible for need-based federal assist (just like the Federal Pell Grant, or Direct Subsidized Loan), however will probably be eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans. States and colleges can also supply further assist alternatives to graduate students.

Filling Out the FAFSA – Step-by-Step

Ready to leap in? You will get via it, promise. Here are some phrases of recommendation, take your time and learn every query rigorously.

Each query on the digital variations of the FAFSA could have a ‘?’ mark. If you click on the ‘?’ you’ll get further info that will help you reply the query. The paper utility may even present further particulars for every query within the accompanying pages offered.

Another necessary observe, the FAFSA utility belongs to the student. References to “you” imply the student. The FAFSA will establish when father or mother info is being requested.

Choose a Method to File

You have three choices:

It is very beneficial that you simply full the applying on-line or via the cellular app as a result of they provide a custom-made expertise. You don’t want to finish the net variations in a single sitting, you’ll be able to create a “Save Key” which you need to use to take breaks or share along with your mother and father to assist full the applying.

Filling out FAFSA for the First Time

Is this your first time? When you’re logging in for the primary time, point out that you’re “New to the FAFSA Process.”

FAFSA Renewal

If you’re coming again to resume your FAFSA, there have been some modifications—however good ones! You don’t want to point you’re a Returning User for a renewal. The FAFSA will prepopulate some demographic info for you, simply make updates as wanted.

READ:   It’s Time to Wind Down the Student Loan Moratorium

FAFSA Student Demographics

Read every query rigorously and supply the requested info. One factor to look out for on this part. Make positive your identify matches what’s in your social safety card.

How to Add Schools to FAFSA

Remember that college listing you set collectively, now it’s time to enter your colleges into the FAFSA. The colleges on this listing will probably be despatched your FAFSA info. Unless you may have your faculty’s federal code (it’s okay for those who don’t) you’ll begin to search for every faculty by location and identify.

*You can all the time search for your federal faculty code for those who’re having hassle discovering your faculty via the search function on the FAFSA.

FAFSA Dependency Status

The FAFSA will now ask you a collection of questions to find out if you’re a dependent or impartial student for FAFSA functions. Your FAFSA dependency standing is just not associated to the way you or your mother and father file your taxes, and it doesn’t matter for those who depend on your mother and father for monetary help or not.

Undergraduate students could be categorised as both dependent or impartial. All graduate or skilled students will probably be categorised as impartial students.

We know dependency standing is an space of confusion, so we broke down what it is advisable find out about FAFSA dependency standing, dependency overrides and requests for skilled judgement.

FAFSA Parent Demographics

If the FAFSA classifies you as a dependent undergraduate student, you may be required to offer parental info. For some it’s simple to find out whose father or mother info to offer, for others it is probably not. Some of you categorised as a dependent undergraduate student could also be involved about your father or mother’s means or willingness to offer you the mandatory info.

Click right here for those who need assistance figuring out who your FAFSA father or mother is or produce other considerations with offering parental info.

Independent students will probably be given a possibility to offer father or mother info. Although it’s not required, some colleges request father or mother info to offer institutional assist.

FAFSA Household Size

Household measurement is a vital consider figuring out your monetary assist eligibility. The on-line and cellular app will auto-populate info primarily based on assumptions. (e.g., if you’re dependent and your FAFSA® father or mother is married, it’ll assume a family measurement of three – your FAFSA father or mother, your FAFSA father or mother’s partner, and your self). Don’t overlook so as to add further family members when needed!

In this part additionally, you will point out the variety of family members in faculty for the FAFSA award 12 months, July 1, 2021 via June 30, 2022. You will embrace your self, and others in your family who’re enrolled not less than half-time in 2021-2022, in a program which ends up in a school diploma or certificates. Read via this query rigorously, you’ll not embrace your mother and father, or any family member who’s a student in an U.S. service academy.

What Financial Information Do You Need to File FAFSA?

If you’re a dependent undergraduate student, you will want to offer your personal monetary info and the monetary info of your FAFSA mother and father. If you’re an impartial student, you’ll solely be required to offer your personal monetary info.

The FAFSA will ask you to report earnings and asset info. To get an concept of what you may be requested about, take a look at our article which covers what and the way monetary info must be reported, and the way that info might impression your monetary assist.

How to Sign and Submit FAFSA

Once you full your utility, it’s time to signal and submit your utility. If you may have an FSA ID, you’ll be able to signal and submit your utility on-line or via the cellular app. Likewise, mother and father can even signal and submit the FAFSA if they’ve an FSA ID. If your father or mother was unable to get an FSA ID, that’s okay. Print your father or mother’s signature web page, have them signal and mail within the signature web page to the tackle offered.

FAFSA Confirmation Page

If you had been capable of signal and submit electronically, you may be directed to a Confirmation Page. Print or save a replica simply in case. The Confirmation Page may even present the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), estimated Federal Pell Grant and Federal Stafford Loan eligibility, in addition to the listing of colleges scheduled to obtain FAFSA knowledge.

FAFSA Mailing Address

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The info you enter in your FAFSA will probably be used to calculate your EFC. The EFC is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education utilizing a system which is established by regulation.

This is the quantity calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. Overtime the EFC and what it means has shifted fairly a bit. Your EFC is extra of an index utilized by your faculty to find out how a lot monetary assist you’ll obtain for those who had been to attend their faculty.

Many suppose that is the amount of cash your loved ones might want to pay out of pocket, nevertheless it’s not. And sure, we are able to hear aid from a few of you! It is a superb purpose quantity for your loved ones to contribute, however it’s not required that your loved ones pay this quantity. Now for the powerful information, it’s possible you’ll owe greater than your EFC relying on that quantity of economic assist your faculty provides you.

What Do You Receive After You Submit the FAFSA?

In the approaching days, or weeks relying on the way you submitted your FAFSA, you’ll obtain a Student Aid Report (SAR) which can summarize the knowledge you offered. Your SAR will probably be emailed to you for those who offered an e mail tackle, for those who didn’t, count on a replica within the mail inside three weeks.

If you don’t get one, you need to attain out to the U.S. Department of Education 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), for TTY for the deaf or laborious of listening to 1-800-730-8913 or log into your federal student assist account to test the standing of your FAFSA.

READ:   Loan Against Fixed Deposits | Citibank India

You need to overview your SAR to verify all the knowledge offered is appropriate. If there are any errors, it’s possible you’ll must make an replace or correction.

If you understand there may be an error in your SAR, don’t panic. There are steps you’ll be able to take to appropriate the knowledge.

FAFSA Corrections

You can return into your digital utility to make a correction, replace, or an adjustment. You could make some corrections and updates by yourself. However, for those who want an adjustment you will want the assistance of your Financial Aid Office.

If you’re unable to login to make corrections, you can also make corrections in your SAR and mail them in. You need to verify with the U.S. Department of Education that you’re making corrections on the proper doc, so be sure to present them a name that will help you via the method: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), for TTY for the deaf or laborious of listening to 1-800-730-8913.

Common forms of FAFSA correction:

  • Updating an e mail tackle, mailing tackle, or different contact info
  • Fixing seen typos – aside from points along with your social safety quantity and identify matching. That might require the assistance of your Financial Aid Office.
  • Adding or eradicating faculty

What Happens After I Submit My FAFSA?

The info you offered on the FAFSA will probably be despatched to the faculties you listed in your FAFSA. They will take that info to find out your monetary assist supply.

If you’ve been accepted to a number of colleges, it’s not time to start out reviewing your monetary assist provides from every faculty. You need to decide the kind of monetary assist you’re being supplied, and the way a lot you would need to pay out of pocket to attend every faculty.

Why Did I Not Qualify for Financial Aid?

Remember, colleges classify student loans as monetary assist. Depending in your faculty’s price of attendance and your EFC, you is probably not eligible for need-based monetary assist.

However, for those who’re not seeing any federal student assist (like Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans) in your monetary assist supply, it’s possible you’ll need to attain out to Financial Aid Office. You need to verify they obtained your FAFSA info and also you accomplished all needed steps to obtain monetary assist.

I Didn’t Get Enough Financial Aid

After you accomplished all required monetary assist types you understand you continue to want extra monetary assist, all hope is just not misplaced. You need to look into submitting a monetary assist attraction along with your faculty. There are a number of the explanation why somebody might ask for added monetary assist. We break down this course of that will help you file a monetary assist attraction along with your faculty.

Common FAFSA Mistakes

There are some frequent FAFSA errors, however don’t fear, there are methods you’ll be able to keep away from or repair these points.

Lost FSA ID Password

If you want an FSA ID go to: There can solely be one FSA ID per social safety quantity.

Students! Don’t depend on your mother and father to make one for you. They might assist you via your first few years finishing the applying, however you will want these credentials for years to return. You’ll want your FSA ID for those who’re making use of for monetary assist in graduate faculty, or to log in and see your federal student loan portfolio. Also, don’t make one on your father or mother’s they might want to make their very own.

Parents! Don’t simply make one on your baby to make the method simpler. If they want their credentials and also you’re unavailable, it could be difficult for them to reset their password in the event that they don’t know the knowledge to get better it.

What Happens if You File the FAFSA Late?

You don’t need to miss any deadlines. If your state awards monetary assist on a first-come, first-served foundation from the FAFSA launch date, then you definately need to file it as quickly as attainable.

Can I Still Submit My FAFSA After the Deadline

If you’ve missed a college or state deadline, you’ll be able to nonetheless file the FAFSA. You could also be out of the working for state and faculty monetary assist, however you’ll nonetheless be eligible for federal student assist.

If you’ve missed the federal deadline, then you definately received’t be capable to file the FAFSA for that award 12 months. Talk to your Financial Aid Office if you’re getting near the federal deadline.

FAFSA Head of Household

If you (or your FAFSA father or mother) filed your taxes as Head of Household and also you point out that on FAFSA, then you’ll be able to count on to have your FAFSA flagged by your Financial Aid Office. You will probably be requested to offer proof that you simply (or your mother and father) meet the qualification of Head of Household. If it seems you don’t qualify for Head of Household, it’s possible you’ll be required to file an amended federal earnings tax return with the IRS and proper the mandatory info in your FAFSA.

Ignoring FAFSA Verification

If you’ve been chosen for FAFSA Verification, it’s best to count on to listen to out of your faculty. Your faculty will ask you to confirm sure info you reported on the FAFSA.

Do not ignore your colleges request! If you fail to offer the requested verification info, your monetary assist might be delayed.

Learn More About Federal Student Aid

Dependency Status

Student Parent Financial Information

Avoiding Errors in Filing Head of Household

Financial Aid Appeals

Parent Information

FAFSA Deadlines

What is Financial Aid?