The FAFSA also referred to as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, officially begins accepting applications in October. Even if you don’t know where you’ll be attending school yet, experts advise filling out the form as soon as possible if you or your children expect to attend college or graduate school in the 2023–24 academic year.
The FSA( Federal Student Aid) will give you a Student Aid Report shortly after it has processed your FAFSA form. This report contains information on your expected family contribution as well as whether you are eligible for Pell Grants. You must use the information on your Student Aid Report, especially your EFC, to make financial plans for your higher education. It’s best if you obtain it as soon as possible.
What is FAFSA?
To assess their eligibility for financial aid for college or graduate school, students, their families, their school counselors, or paid preparers must complete the FAFSA government form. Everyone is eligible to apply for FAFSA; there are no income restrictions.
Direct aid, grants, loans, and work-study monies are all forms of federal funding obtained through the FAFSA. The FAFSA data is also used by states and institutions to determine their own grants and scholarships.
How can you apply for FAFSA?
The US Department of Education uses the FAFSA to assess your qualification for financial help. You must include your Social Security Number (SSN), driver’s license number, alien registration number, federal tax information, tax documents, or tax returns for both you and your spouse (if you’re married), records of your untaxed income, and information on your other financial assets (including cash, the balances of your savings and checking accounts, investments, and business or farm assets) as part of the application.
The Education Department uses all of this data to determine your expected family contribution (EFC) and your eligibility for need-based financial aid, such as Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), direct subsidized loans, and Federal Work-Study, as well as non-need-based financial aid, such as direct unsubsidized loans, PLUS loans, and Teacher Education Access for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants.
Even if you think that the income or wealth of your family will prevent you from receiving financial help, you should still fill out the FAFSA application. Some colleges and universities will grant their own scholarships using the information from the FAFSA. If you are not qualified for any other aid, you must submit the FAFSA in order to be eligible for federal student loans.
Having extra time to challenge financial aid decisions
Financial aid offers from schools are merely that—offers. You can choose to accept all of the aid, only some of it, or you can petition the school for more funding. Schools often make their best offers first, but if your family’s financial circumstances have altered due to a funeral or job loss, it may be worthwhile to update your FAFSA form and challenge a school’s decision.
Everyone who intends to enroll in college or graduate school the following year should submit a FAFSA application. Federal student aid is available to all eligible students without regard to their income, and applying is free.
If one school has given you significantly more financial help than another, you may also challenge the decision. Each university has a unique procedure for contesting financial aid awards. To learn more about the appeals procedure, send an email to the financial assistance office at the school.
Apply by the Deadline
It would be appropriate to emphasize right now that FAFSA registration is open for the current academic year, 2022–2023, until June 30, 2023. Do your FAFSA right now if you’re enrolled in college or graduate school this year.
The upcoming academic year, 2023–2024, should follow the same guidelines. You have 21 months to finish your FAFSA form. If you don’t finish it right away, make sure to finish it by June 30, 2024.
Ans. The FAFSA is used to gather data about your income, assets, family size, and the number of relatives attending college right now.
Ans. The FAFSA opens on Oct. 1 each year.
Ans. You can submit the 2023-24 FAFSA until June 30, 2024. File early for the best chance of getting more financial aid.
Ans. The U.S. Department of Education.