What is the FAFSA?
What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
The FAFSA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the nationally standardized application form used by the U.S. Department of Education for assessing a family's finances and its ability to support a student's post-secondary education. It is the cornerstone of the entire federal financial aid system for students attending colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions in America.
More importantly, you and your family cannot apply for any federal student aid, either federally guaranteed loans or grants, without completing the FAFSA form.
New Year. New FAFSA.
The FAFSA should be filed every year you’re in school after January 1 for a college term that begins that fall. The application can be accessed and filed online, at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Applicants and their parents can also check the status of their application and make corrections online.
After you file the FAFSA
After processing, the information collected from the FAFSA is shared with the applicant and their family, as well as with the financial aid offices of the institutions to which the student has applied and listed on their FAFSA.
Schools will use the information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for other types of financial aid provided by the federal government, from your state, or from the school itself. This aid can include grants, scholarships and work opportunities, so it’s important to file your FAFSA as early as possible.
The Student Aid Report (SAR), which is generated from completing the FAFSA, shows your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount of money your family will be expected to contribute towards your education. The lower your EFC, the more financial aid you may qualify for.