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Financial Aid Information FAFSA

FAFSA Information FAQs  
Why should I do the FAFSA? 
The FAFSA is the first step in applying for student financial aid. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. As the name suggests, this is a free application for all students.  It asks questions about tax, asset, and household information to determine the student's level of need. 
Whose information is required?
Some of the first questions you will encounter on the FAFSA are the dependency questions. These will determine whether or not the student is a dependent of their parents.  If so, the FAFSA will require the tax information from the student's parent/parents. Answering the dependency questions is very important to get the remainder of the application completed correctly. It is not possible to answer this as an "independent student" when you are not.  
What documents are required?
To file a FAFSA you will need:
  • Social security number
  • Permanent Registration (Alien Registration) number, if not a US Citizen
  • Driver's license number (if any)
  • Date of birth
  • W-2 Forms (student and parent/s)
  • 2019 Federal Tax return form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, for parent and student 
  • Current bank balances for checking and savings accounts (student and parents/s)
  • Current business and investment information

What is the FSA I.D.?

The FSA I.D. is an electronic signature for the FAFSA. Before starting the FAFSA, you should first create and FSA I.D. for both the parent and student. This is a timely, but necessary process. Be sure to write down the username and password because it will be required to sign in and edit the FAFSA.   

What types of aid are available?

When submitting a FAFSA, you are first considered for federal aid. Federal aid includes the Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, or direct unsubsidized loans. The FAFSA then goes to each school the student applies to. The schools will evaluate the information and determine if the student qualifies for institutional aid. Institutional aid can be in need-based grants or in loans.   

When is the deadline?

Some schools have priority filing deadlines as soon as November 1 and some as late as March 1. It's really important to check each school's deadline early. Despite "priority deadlines" the FAFSA can be submitted as late as the summer before a student enrolls in college, but they are not guaranteed to receive aid if the deadline is not met.    

What if I can't get my parents' tax information?

Due to special circumstances, some students are unable to access their parents' required tax information. In these cases, the student will need to continue filing the FAFSA to the best of his/her ability. After submitting the FAFSA, the student will then appeal the information by contacting each institution he/she applied to.   

What taxes do I use?

You will have to use your 2018 taxes. If your financial situation has drastically changed from 2018 to 2019/2020, you must still use the 2018 taxes and then appeal your FAFSA through each school the student is applying to.    

What is an EFC?

An EFC is the Expected Family Contribution. This is an index number that a student will receive after completing the FAFSA. Some families may be surprised by this number, but keep in mind that the EFC does not mean that you will have contribute that amount of money to your student. It is only an estimate.