If you plan on attending a college, university or trade school, you will need to complete the FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This will allow you to gain access to grants, loans, and work study. Schools often also require a completed FAFSA in order to be considered for college scholarships.
Follow These Steps to Apply:
1. Create an FSA ID
Go to www.fsaid.ed.gov and create a username and password. Both the student and one parent will need their own FSA ID. The student and parent cannot use the same email address when creating their FSA IDs. This will serve as your electronic signature and will be used every time you fill out the FAFSA.
2. Start Your Application - after October 1.
Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to begin the application.
You will need the following information readily available:
- Most recent Federal Tax Return(s) and W-2 forms for student and parent(s)
- Student and parent Social Security Numbers (SSN's for both parents if married)
- Total current amount in checking and savings account(s)
- Amount of any child support received or paid (if applicable)
- Net value of current stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 529 plans (if applicable)
- Net value of investment/rental property (if applicable)
- Other income information (if applicable)
Be sure to use the "Help and Hints" box on the right hand side for tips as you work through the FAFSA online.
3. Add ALL Your Schools
Still not sure where you're going in the fall? That's okay! Make sure you list all the schools you've been accepted to on your FAFSA. Know where you're going in the fall? Still list ALL the schools to which you've been accepted. This will allow each school to tell you how much financial aid they're offering you.
4. Submit the FAFSA by March 1
The priority deadline to be considered for the most financial aid is March 1 of your senior year. Make sure to submit the FAFSA before this date! Some schools have earlier priority deadlines - check the school's website for more information.
5. Pay attention to messages from schools
Schools may need more information in order to process your financial aid application. They may request tax transcripts (different than tax returns) or other financial information worksheets. Pay close attention to any emails or mailings from schools and respond promptly to requests for more information.
Visit www.studentaid.ed.gov for detailed information about the FAFSA and federal student aid programs.