Beginning October 1st, high school seniors can start to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2021-2022 school year. This federal form is used by colleges to determine a student's eligibility for federal aid (grants, loans, work-study). For every year in which the student will be enrolled in college, they are strongly encouraged to submit the FAFSA and can list up to 10 schools to receive their information.
Although the financial aid process can seem overwhelming for both students and parents, it certainly doesn't have to be! To help you get started, we have provided you with a step-by-step guide below:
Step One: Create an FSA ID. It is important that every student and parent create an FSA ID in order to complete and submit the FAFSA. This personalized ID is used to confirm your identity with the Department of Education and allows you to electronically sign the FAFSA.
Step Two: Go to www.fafsa.gov
Step Three: Click on "Start Here" to complete the 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Note: When filling out the income section in the FAFSA, students and parents who have filed their 2019 federal tax return may be given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If given this option, it is strongly encouraged to utilize this tool in order to electronically and securely transfer your income tax information from the IRS website to your FAFSA.
Once you have submitted the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send you an email within 1-2 business days to confirm that it was received and will also provide you with a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing the information that was submitted. Within 2-3 business days, the colleges that you listed on the application will receive your FAFSA and will contact you if any further information is being requested. It is important to keep in mind that you will not be awarded financial aid until you have submitted your admission application to the college and have officially been accepted. Additionally, not every student is awarded the same financial aid award. This is because not every student and family's financial situation is the same and not every college awards financial aid the same way.