- What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the U.S. Department of Education's form used to apply for federal student aid. Federal student aid can help pay for college, university, or vocational school. The form must be completed each year the student attends a postsecondary institution.
- What types of student financial aid are available through FAFSA?
Grants are free money awarded to students for postsecondary tuition, housing and expenses. Grant funds may come from the Federal government (www.studentaid.ed.gov) and the State (azgrants.az.gov). The Pell Grant is the largest of the federal grants and eligibilitiy for the Pell Grant may qualify the student for other university funds.
Loans must be paid back and may accrue interest. Loans may come from the Federal government or the State. Federal loans include: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Consolidation Loans, and Perkins Loan.
Federal Work-Study is a program allowing students to take a part-time campus job as part of their financial aid package.
- Who should complete the FAFSA?
It is recommended that all prospective and current college students complete the FAFSA every year as soon as possible. For the 2020-2021 FAFSA that could be as early as October 1st, 2019.
- When should the FAFSA be completed?
The 2020-2021 FAFSA becomes available on October 1st at www.fafsa.ed.gov. It may be filled out any time during the academic year. However, colleges and universities have financial aid deadlines to which they adhere and it is to a student's advantage to be awarded as early as possible.
- What are the advantages to submitting my FAFSA early?
Early submission of the FAFSA will enable you to:
- Meet your college/university's financial aid deadline date.
- Be notified of any additional required documents with ample time to respond (example: verification).
- Have time to review your financial award letter and ask questons before accepting.
- Maximize eligibility for limited federal and state funds that may be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
- What information and documents are needed to complete the FAFSA?
To complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA, you will need:
- Your Social Security Number
- Parents' Social Security Number, if the student is a dependent.
- Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Your 2018 federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your 2018 federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
- Your 2018 records of untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans non education benefits.
- Current information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments including stocks and bonds and real estate but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets.
- A FSA ID to sign electronically. (If you do not already have one, visit https://fsaid.ed.gov to obtain one.) For additional information on the new FSA ID visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/fsaid.
- If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).
- If for some reason your 2018 taxes are not done before you fill out your 2020-2021 FAFSA, you can use estimated amounts. Prior year taxes or end of year paystub may be used to estimate these amounts. Be sure to update your FAFSA with your 2018 income and tax information once your taxes have been filed.
- How will the above information be used?
The financial, personal and household information you provide on the FAFSA will be used by the Department of Education to provide your college or university information needed to determine what kind and how much federal aid you may be eligible to receive. Financial aid offices may also use this information to determine your eligibility for state and institutional aid.
- What happens after I submit the FAFSA?
Once the submitted FAFSA is processed, the Department of Education issues the Student Aid Report (SAR) which is sent to the student. This information will also be shared with the colleges and universities listed on the FAFSA.