At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity that will help you decide with confidence. Many or all the products featured listed here are from our partners. Here’s how we earn money.
Filling out and submitting the disposable Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is paramount for you to get educational funding to help purchase college should you or your family can’t foot the whole bill.
The Education Department provides over $125 billion in help to students each year. While the supply of cash isn’t infinite, all eligible educational funding applicants can get to get a slice of the action.
The way to obtain cash isn’t infinite, but all eligible applicants can get to obtain a piece of the pie.
The process?- and also the application itself?- could be confusing, here are solutions to 16 popular questions regarding the FAFSA.
Before you start
1. Why should I fill out the FAFSA?
You also often need to file the FAFSA to be eligible for a state and institutional aid, for example scholarships.
2. My parents make too much money to be eligible for a a Pell grant. Should we still file the FAFSA?
If you don’t be eligible for a need-based aid programs, you normally can still borrow unsubsidized federal student loans.
3. Just how long will it decide to try submit the FAFSA?
4. When must i fill out the FAFSA?
5. How do I begin the FAFSA?
Alternatively, you can submit the FAFSA by mail. Download and complete a PDF copy or request a paper copy by calling 1-800-433-3243.
6. What documents should i file the FAFSA?
In the process
7. Am I considered an independent or dependent student?
On the 2019-20 form, for example, if you were born before Jan. 1, 1996, you are considered an independent student. You’re also considered independent if you are married, a veteran, homeless, signed up for a graduate program, or else you provide a certain amount of support to dependents or children.
Take choose to pick the correct dependency status because it can impact just how much aid you receive.
8. My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent accounts for filling out the FAFSA?
You have to include information from both of your parents on the FAFSA if they are divorced or separated but still live together.
9. I can not get my parent’s financial information. Can one still apply for aid?
On the FAFSA, answer “no” when you’re asked if you can provide information about your folks. Additionally you should answer “no” when inquired about special circumstances if you do not meet those standards. Special circumstances include in case your parents have been in prison or if you have no idea where your folks are. Then you can submit the FAFSA without their information. It will likely be as much as your college to find out if you’re able to have an unsubsidized education loan. You will need to contact the school’s financial aid office as quickly as possible to discuss getting approved for a loan.
10. Is there a way to understand how much aid I will receive?
11. I’m already attending school. Do I need to complete another FAFSA?
12. My parents haven’t filed their taxes. What information must i use?
You can import tax information in to the FAFSA form using the IRS data retrieval tool. Whenever you sign in for your application, you’ll see a “Link to IRS” button if you are eligible to use the tool. Should you aren’t eligible, you will need to have that tax information on hand.
13. Which schools should I send FAFSA information to basically don’t know where I wish to visit college?
Search for school codes on your online application. Paper filers can look up the codes around the Federal Student Aid website.
After submitting your application
14. When am i going to receive my FAFSA results?
The report provides basic details about financial aid eligibility, including your answers to questions about the FAFSA. It also specifies your expected family contribution, which is the amount your family be forced to pay toward your education. Colleges use your EFC to determine your financial aid package.
Once you get your Student Aid Report, make sure all the details is accurate. If you find inaccuracies, update your FAFSA.
15. How can I make changes towards the FAFSA once i send it in?
16. How do I accept or decline an economic aid offer?
If you’ve payment gaps you can’t fill with savings or income, consider a private education loan. Private loans are not available with the FAFSA process. You will need to investigate the chance of getting private loans from banks, lending institutions or online lenders. Compare interest rates, repayment options and protections, for example forbearance, before selecting a private loan.
- Want to do this?
Use NerdWallet’s FAFSA guide to prepare yourself to file
- Want to dive deeper?
Learn why you need to file the FAFSA every year
- Want to explore related?
Find out more about your Student Aid Report