Anyone seeking educational financial aid from the federal Department of Education must fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. It becomes available each year in January and can be submitted online by going to www.FAFSA.gov.
This form is critical for not only your federal aid request, but for those offered by your state and school, as they also use the FAFSA form for information they need to see if you qualify. Therefore, it is very important that you find out their deadlines for filing, so that you are not too late and miss out. For federal programs, the deadline is June 30.
What Information Will I Need to Fill It Out?
All sorts of information is needed to fill out this form, including:
- Your name and Social Security number
- Your citizenship status and marital status
- Education level for each of your parents
- Your dependency status
- Your parents’ names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers
- Parents’ Adjusted Gross Income for the previous tax year (if tax return filed)
- Parents’ earned income for the previous tax year
- Parents’ unearned income (e.g. SSI) for the previous 2 tax years
- Your adjusted gross income (and that of your spouse) for the previous tax year
- Your income (and that of your spouse) for the previous tax year
- Unearned household income for the previous 2 tax years
Income information can also be pulled electronically from your filed tax returns as part of the online process of filling out the form.
If you (or your parents) have not yet filed your tax return, you can use estimated income figures and then amend the FAFSA later with actual numbers once the return is filed.
If you are looking for more information about federal financial aid for college, then download my free book, Applying for Federal Financial Aid: The Definitive Guide for Students and Parents.
For more information about what happens after you graduate, get my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.
You can also access the latest news on student loans, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and read articles in my Library. Continue to educate yourself as you go through the process of making smart decisions about college financing!