Overview: The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that all students, despite their family’s income level, must complete before they may be considered for federal student aid, whether it be in the form of grants or federally-backed student loans. Most colleges will also require that you file the FAFSA before you are considered for need-based institutional grants and scholarships. The FAFSA filing period opens on October 1 of the year prior to when you will be applying for financial aid and the base year for tax purposes is the previous year. For example, if you will be requesting financial aid for the 2018/19 school year, the FAFSA filing period opens on October 1, 2017 and you will use financial information reflected on your 2016 Federal Tax Returns.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid provides videos, forms, and enough information on the studentaid.ed.gov website to guide you through each step of competing and submitting your FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is not a complicated process, however, due to not fully understanding some of the questions, many students experience frustration and fail to properly complete and submit their FAFSA in a timely manner. This activity provides links to information that should answer most questions. The FAFSA filing period opens on October 1. Some institutions begin awarding their limited funds as soon as FAFSAs and financial aid applications are received. Delays in submitting a FAFSA can result in a student being offered a greater amount in student loans and lessor amount in institutional grants and scholarships. “Why You Should Fill Out the FAFSA ASAP” provides important information.
In the final analysis, it is better to complete the FAFSA and make corrections to a completed FAFSA as opposed to failing to file the FAFSA altogether. If your FAFSA is determined to have errors, you will be contacted by the office of financial aid at the colleges and universities to which you submit your FAFSA.