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FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid

What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a comprehensive form. Be prepared to provide extensive information about your family’s income and income taxes from the previous year, assets, family size, the number of family members attending college, and more.

Why is FAFSA important?

It is used to determine the Financial Aid your student will receive from the Federal Government, and many colleges also use the FAFSA as part of their application process for non-federal aid.

Where do you get a FAFSA application?

You can download a copy online at:

When is FAFSA due?

You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of the year for which you are requesting financial aid. Why? Aid is generally awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and a late application may cause you to miss out on some of the available funding.

What happens next?
  • Family completes the FAFSA either online or on paper and submits it to the U.S. Department of Education (ED)
  • ED sends the family a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated based on the information you provided on the FAFSA
  • ED sends the same information to the colleges you listed on the FAFSA. The report sent to schools is called the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).
  • The college uses the EFC to assemble a financial aid award package, which is sent to you

Remember, completing and filing the FAFSA is an annual process. You’ll need to file a FAFSA every year you’re in college to be eligible to receive financial aid. It may take some time, but getting help paying for college can definitely make your efforts worthwhile.