No. You never have to pay to complete a FAFSA, just like you should never pay to search for college scholarship search. After all, the first "F" in FAFSA stands for FREE.
For a full list of FAFSA Basic Eligibility Requirements, click here.
For a list of documents and information needed to complete your FAFSA, click here.
The FSA ID allows students and parents to identify themselves electronically to access Federal Student Aid websites. It contains a username and password and can be used to log into the online FAFSA. You are not required to have an FSA ID to complete and submit a FAFSA form, but it is the fastest way to sign your application and have it processed. It is also the only way you can access or correct your FAFSA online, or to prefill an online FAFSA with information from your previous year's FAFSA form.
States, schools, and the federal government each have their own FAFSA filing deadlines. Make sure to research all three and complete your FAFSA by your earliest deadline. Being that some types of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it is best you complete and FAFSA as early as possible.
No. You can begin your FAFSA as early as October 1, which is when the application opens each year. In order to receive the funds, you will need to be accepted to and enrolled in an accredited college or university.
Eligible students and parents can utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing a FAFSA, which transfers your tax return information into your application with the following steps:
If you have an FSA ID, use it to sign your application electronically. When signing with an FSA ID, your FAFSA application will likely be processed within 3-5 business days. To sign electronically, click Log In button on the FAFSA on the Web home page to log in, and then click the Provide Signatures button. You can also opt to hand-sign or skip signing your FAFSA application.
Online FAFSA applications are processed 3-5 days and paper FAFSAs are processed 7-10 days.
Timing may vary from college to college depending on factors such as when you submitted your FAFSA and the number of FAFSA forms the college has to process. Please note that listing a college on your FAFSA form is generally not sufficient to receive aid at that college and that you should contact the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend for information about applying for aid at that college.
To make corrections to your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), click the Log In button on the home page and log into FAFSA on the Web, and then click Make FAFSA Corrections. When making corrections, you can: add or remove colleges from your application, change your e-mail or mailing address, and correct any field in your FAFSA other than your Social Security Number (SSN).
Click Log In on the FAFSA on the Web home page to log in; your FAFSA status can be found on the "My FAFSA" page, which displays immediately after you log in if you have already started or completed a FAFSA. To check on the status of financial aid being disbursed to you or your account, check with the financial aid office at your college.
Yes. Your eligibility for federal financial aid can differ each year for various reasons, including your family's financial situation or the number of family members enrolled in college. If you filled out a FAFSA last year and want to renew it, go to fafsa.gov, click "Login", and be sure to select "FAFSA Renewal" once given the option.
No. Undocumented students, including DACA students, are not eligible for federal student aid. However, you may be eligible for state or college financial aid, in addition to scholarships for undocumented students.
It depends. In some states, undocumented students, or specifically DACA students, are eligible to receive in-state tuition or scholarships for TPS/DACA students. Check with your high school or your college or career school's financial aid office.
No, it does not. In fact, the FAFSA form does not even ask about your parents' status.
Yes. While completing your FAFSA, you will be asked whether you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and "unaccompanied." For more answers to questions regarding Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth, click here. There are also scholarships for homeless students/formerly homeless students as another means to help pay for college.
Maybe. Once you answer "yes" to the general homelessness question on the FAFSA, you will be asked whether you have received a homeless youth determination. If you indicate that you have, the financial aid administrator at the college you plan to attend may request the determination to prove that you are "unaccompanied" and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. You should contact one of the following individuals to ask if they can provide you with a homeless youth determination:
The U.S. Department of Education created this infographic to help students identify the FAFSA-defined version of their family tree.
Here's a general breakdown for students with divorced or separated parents as they complete a FAFSA:
Knowing the specifics about your family situation will help simplify the process when it comes to applying for college financial aid. Regardless of your parents' marital status, you will need to share the same information as other students, including:
If you are in a federal or state institution:
If you are in an institution other than a federal or state institution:
Yes. If you are on probation or parole or living in a halfway house, you may be eligible for federal student aid. If you were convicted of a drug-related offense or if you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment for a sexual offense, your eligibility may be limited.
Yes. Your eligibility might be suspended if the offense occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study). For more information on drug convictions and federal student aid, click here.
If you have been convicted of a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense, and you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for that offense, you cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant.
Yes. You may receive funding from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study programs, under the following conditions:
No, the U.S. Department of Education does not specfically provide a federal financial aid program for students who are (or have been) in foster care. However, students can receive money for college via Educational and Training Vouchers for Current and Former Foster Care Youth and scholarships for adopted/foster child/orphan individuals.
Once you are in college or career school, make sure to stay on track toward graduation. Don't forget to also fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form every year.
Latest College & Financial Aid News
August 4, 2020
The federal work-study program is a way in which college students can work part- or full-time while simultaneously attending school in order to help pay for college-related expenses. The program, available at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level, may face some changes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. [...]
July 30, 2020
by Izzy Hall
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the current chairman of the Senate education committee, has recently proposed the Student Loan Repayment and FAFSA Simplification Act, a piece of legislation that would allow students with no income to forgo federal student loan repayments. His recommendations, which he developed with bipartisan support, would also simplify the FAFSA and reduce the number of federal loan repayment options from nine to two. [...]
July 28, 2020
by Izzy Hall
Have your financial circumstances changed due to COVID-19? You’re not alone. Many students and their families have faced unemployment, reduced job hours and general loss of economic stability in the wake of the pandemic. And as the FAFSA determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on income from the previous year, students may have greater financial need now than they did when they initially filed for federal aid. Unfortunately, the deadline to submit the FAFSA passed at the end of June. However, it is not too late to appeal your student financial aid from your chosen institution. [...]