Frequently Asked Questions About FAFSA

Overlay text "FAFSA FAQ" against colorful questions mark.Now is the time to be thinking about your potential colleges, school applications, and FAFSA. These are just a few of the frequently asked questions when it comes to the FAFSA.

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the application you complete to apply for federal grants, loans, work study, and even potentially grants or loans through your future college. States often also use the FAFSA to determine any aid they may offer you.

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Am I eligible to complete the FAFSA?

If you are a citizen of the United States, seeking a college degree, graduated or graduating high school, and maintained satisfactory grades, you are most likely eligible to complete the FAFSA. However, the amount of aid you are may be offered by the federal government, state, or your school depends on your personal situation. The application takes your family’s income, size, and a few other facts into account to determine the amount you’re eligible for.

How long does the FAFSA take to complete?

In most cases, the FAFSA will take you less than an hour to complete. In later years, it will take you even less because you will simply edit your future applications to reflect any new information. Remember to collect all important documents, such as income or prior taxes, to make filling out the forms easier.

Can my parents complete the FAFSA for me?

If you are nervous about completing the FAFSA yourself, because you are unsure of the information or are worried about a mistake, you can absolutely ask your parents to assist you. However, you should make separate FSA ID’s. These are considered legal signatures and sharing could actually cause future legal issues to arise. It may even delay your financial aid.

What are the deadlines for the FAFSA?

The FAFSA opened this year on October 1st, 2017. For the upcoming school year of 2017 – 2018, the due date is June 30th, 2018 at midnight Central time.

However, even though that’s several months away, you should not wait to complete this form. Since your potential colleges may use these to determine financial aid, you want to get it in as soon as possible. Some schools will even run out of aid if you take too long, so even if you were eligible, you may miss out.

Should I fill out the FAFSA every year?

Yes! You should fill out the FAFSA every year. If you are receiving loans or grants for your freshman year and you fail to complete the application for sophomore year, you could find yourself in financial trouble if you needed those loans or grants to attend.

Even if you weren’t eligible for any grants in your first year, you may find new opportunities arose, especially if your financial situation changed. Schools may also find you’re eligible for a scholarship, loan, or grant that you weren’t for the previous year.

FAFSA doesn’t need to be confusing. Completing it is quite easy. If you’re still unsure about completing the application, make sure to talk to your high school guidance counselor’s office or your college’s financial aid department for assistance.

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