This pig will help you with your fafsa

What is the FAFSA?

If you want financial aid to pay for college, you'll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

The FAFSA is a free application from the U.S. Department of Education to determine two things. First, it determines if you are eligible for financial aid. Eligibility requirements includes things such as being a U.S. citizen, not owing any outstanding student loans, having a GED or diploma and valid social security number. It also determines how much federal money you are eligible to receive in grants and loans.

The Application

The application takes about an hour to fill out and requires you to have some necessary documents such as:

  • Most recent tax return (if you are a dependent, you'll need your parents' returns)
  • Driver's license (if you have one)
  • Social security number
  • Current bank statements
  • Current investment records (if applicable)
  • Permanent resident or alien registration card (if you're not a U.S. citizen)

You use the information above to complete the following categories about:

  • You (the student)
  • Your parents
  • Your dependency status
  • Your finances
  • The schools who should receive your FAFSA information

Expected Family Contribution

All students are expected to pay money toward their tuition. Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, is how much money you or your family is expected to contribute after you receive all the loans and grants. Your contribution is based on the analysis of the information you provided on your FAFSA such as: assets and income. The difference between your EFC and the Cost of Attendance equals your financial need. The Cost of Attendance is the standard amount determined by law. It doesn't include your school's actual tuition amount.

It takes four to six weeks for your FASFA to be processed. Once processed, you'll receive a Student Aid Report, or SAR, which shows your EFC. The same information is sent to the schools you listed on your application. The colleges use the information to calculate your financial aid package which includes grants, student loans and work-study (if eligible).

Time Requirements for the FAFSA

You can complete the FAFSA even if you have been admitted to any college or university. The easiest way to obtain the application is via the website. You have the option of completing and submitting it online or completing a printed form and returning it via ordinary mail. the online application is often faster. However, the application does have strict deadlines. January 1 of each year is when you can complete and submit the application. The final filing deadline is June 30 of the same year.

It is best to apply as early as possible to maximize the amount of financial aid you'll receive. To continue to receive financial aid for each year you're in college, you have to reapply by those deadlines. Remember, the form is free to complete and file. There are some websites and organizations that claim to fill out and file your FAFSA for you for a fee. It may be a scam.

Last Updated: December 13, 2017