FAFSA® Guide For Everyone | Frank

Main header

What is FAFSA®?

FAFSA® is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. States, colleges, the federal government and private organizations use the information families include in the FAFSA® form to grant financial aid. Filing a FAFSA® form can make you eligible for numerous federal grants and loans as well as scholarships, and work-study programs. To find out if you qualify for federal financial aid fill out the questionnaire below.

 

Save the date

The majority of financial aid programs provide grants on a first come, first serve basis. To ensure that you qualify for the most possible aid, be sure to submit your forms ASAP after the application opens. 

 

fqiqef

Universal FAFSA®
deadline

A new FAFSA® year opens each year on October 1st and closes two years later by June 30th. For the 2019-2020 academic year, you can submit your FAFSA® anytime between October 1st, 2018 and June 30th, 2020.

Check out your school's
FAFSA® deadline

To find out when is your school’s FAFSA® deadline, go to your school’s financial aid page or call their financial aid office. 

What's your state’s
aid deadline

If you want to find out your state’s aid deadline, visit the Federal Student Aid  deadlines page here. 

To fill out your FAFSA® quickly and efficiently, it’s important you know the following things:

How can you file your FAFSA®?

You have more options than you think
when you file your Free Application For Financial Aid (FAFSA®).

 

FSA online form

File with the Federal Student Aid (FSA) at FAFSA.ed.gov. The FSA form has 108 questions and takes and average of 45-55 minutes to finish. 

FSA paper form

The paper FAFSA® form is available for students unable to file online. However, it’s crucial to note that it has a longer processing time.

What is your dependency status?

If you are a dependent student, you will be required to report your parent’s information on the application. On the other hand, if you’re an independent student you will not be required to report your parent’s information.

Who's considered your parent on the FAFSA®

If the student is dependent, one or more parents may need to provide their information for the FAFSA®. Here is a breakdown for different kinds of parents or guardians:

 

 

 

 

Biological parent

Married biological parents have to include their information on the FAFSA®. If they’re divorced, only the parent with primary custody needs to provide their information. When parents have 50-50 custody, the one providing greater financial support is considered the qualifying parent.

Adoptive parent

Adoptive parents are considered qualifying parents on the FAFSA® if the student was adopted before turning 13 years old. If the adoption occurred when the student was older, the student will be considered independent and will not need to include parental information on the application.

Step-parent

Spouses of qualifying biological parents are required to report their personal and financial information on the FAFSA®. 

Legal guardian

Legal guardians are not considered parents on the FAFSA®. A student with a court appointed guardian is considered an “independent student” and will not need to include parental information.

Gathering the correct information

The FAFSA® requires some basic information to confirm who you are. Here are basic facts and documents you’ll need to locate:

 

Filing on your own
(independent student)

• Name and date of birth (easy, right?)

• Social Security Number

• Address and contact info

• Marital status, marriage or separation dates

Filing with a parent
(dependent student)

• Names and birthdates for you and your parents

• Social Security Numbers for you and your parents

• Marital status and marriage or separation dates

• Number of children or dependents in your household

Navigating Your Financials

What financial information is needed to
determine my aid?

The information that the FAFSA® asks for is used to determine your financial need. So, it makes sense that they’d ask for your financial information.

Keep in mind that to complete this portion of the FAFSA®, you’ll need to have some documents available. Read on to see what you need.

Students and parents filing together:

The Federal Student Aid (FSA) considers it the family’s responsibility to help pay for their dependent child’s education to the best of their ability. So, in addition to the student filing out their tax and financial information, parents are required to provide tax and financial information on the FAFSA®, too.

In our simplified version of FAFSA®, you can easily invite a parent to fill the parent portion of the form.

 

Tax & financial information

Tax 

Firstly, you will be asked for your and your parents tax and income information from two years prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid.

That means if you are applying for financial aid for the 2019-2020 school year, you will need your tax information from 2017.

Financial 

You’ll need financial information for the student and parent, including bank, checking, savings accounts, and values of any other investments or small businesses.

Checklist for documents you will need:

 

• Tax return for student, if student has one and Tax return for parent. Specifically, just the first two pages of the 1040 or 1040A, or the first page of the 1040EZ

• W2 from any jobs for you and your parents

• Any income you don’t pay taxes on, such as pensions, retirement funds, or military benefits

• Cash, checking and savings account balances

• Value of any investments

• Value of any small businesses

Finishing Up

Tip For Parents: If you have multiple children in college, each child will need their own FAFSA® application. Yes, you can transfer your parent information from one online form to another!

Independent students & adult students filing solo:

Your tax & financial information

Tax 

You will be asked for your tax and income information from two years prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid.

That means if you are applying for financial aid for the 2018-2019 school year, you will need your tax information from 2016.

Financial 

You’ll also need the current balances of your bank, checking, savings accounts, and values of any other investments or small businesses.

*If you’re married, you’ll need to include your spouse’s financial information on your application, too — even if you weren’t yet married during the requested tax year.

Checklist for documents you will need:

 

• Tax returns. Specifically, just the first two pages of the 1040 or 1040A, or the first page of the 1040EZ.

• Your W2 from any jobs.

• Any income you don’t pay taxes on, such as pensions, retirement funds, or military benefit.

• Cash, checking and savings account balances.

• Value of any investments.

• Value of any small businesses.

Finishing Up

Which school(s) should get your FAFSA® information?

The FSA will need to know what schools you’re interested in attending so they can send your FAFSA® information to those schools.

 

01

What the FAFSA® will ask:

You’ll be asked where you went to high school and where you would like to pursue higher education. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where you want to go just yet — you can list up to 10 schools on your FAFSA®.

02

Information you'll need:

• High School name and location

• Colleges you are interested in attending

Signing your online FAFSA®
with the FSA ID


Before the FSA can process your online application, your FAFSA® must be “signed” with your unique FSA ID, which will serve as your electronic signature and confirm that you are you. You will need to create your FSA ID here.

Parents: you and your child will need to create and sign with separate FSA IDs.

The FSA ID is linked to your social security number, so you will only be able to create one FSA ID. It’s important that you create a username and password that no one will be able to guess, but that you’ll still remember.

For detailed instructions on how to create an FSA ID, check out this article.

Next steps after submitting your FAFSA®

 

Congratulations, you’ve successfully signed and submitted your FAFSA®! The difficult part is over! Here’s what happens next:

 

01

Get your
Student Aid Report

You will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within two weeks of signing your FAFSA®, although it may only take a few days to receive if you supplied your email address on your application.

Your SAR will contain instructions to update any information that needs to be corrected in the comments section of your SAR. If you don’t address any issues you see in your SAR, you may experience delays getting your aid.

02

Financial aid
award letters

The school(s) you include in your FAFSA® application will send you a financial aid award package. Make sure you review it carefully since it will include information regarding the federal grants, and loans you qualify for, as well as any scholarships they are offering you.

If you are an incoming freshman, you can expect to receive your offer in March or April, while currently enrolled students should expect to receive their award letters a few weeks later.

If you haven’t yet been accepted for academic enrollment, schools will most likely send financial aid offer letters around the same time as acceptance letters. If you didn’t receive the financial aid offer with your acceptance letter be sure to contact your school’s financial aid office. 

03

Accept or appeal
your aid offers

Not happy with your financial aid award? Appeal it. You can appeal your award letter if you think you deserve more aid.

Contact your school’s financial aid office to find out how their appeals process works. Need help appealing your financial aid award? Frank can help you

Section title

Remember: You do not have to accept all parts of your financial aid offer — especially loans. If you do not want to take on any loans, you do not have to do so.

Still have questions? Get free help!

Our team in New York City is ready to answer your
questions and help out however we can. Get in touch by
chat, text, email and phone.

 

Feature 1

support@withfrank.org

Feature 2

Help Center

Feature 3

347.690.7886

Section title

We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.

[gravityform id="4" description="false"]

Create Your Account

[gravityform id="4" description="false"]

Create Your Account

[gravityform id="4" description="false"]

Create Your Account