FAFSA® for Grad Students

Heading to Grad school is a huge accomplishment. Getting money to help you pay for it is even better. That’s why FAFSA® for Grad Students is essential.

If you went to undergrad, you’re probably already familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). But did you know there’s an opportunity for you to get federal support for your graduate degree?

Here are the steps it takes to get FAFSA® for grad school. 

Review Your Eligibility

While grad students are not given as much federal aid as undergrad students, there are still some options. 

First, review your eligibility, the types of aid available, and what you need to know about grad school loans. You can access all this and more here

Prepare to File FAFSA® 

FAFSA® opens every year on October 1st. Get prepared by gathering all your documents together. You’ll need the previous years’ tax forms, your FSA ID, any personal information, and your school code. 

Unlike when you filed for an undergraduate application, you are automatically considered an independent student on the FAFSA® as a grad student. Be sure you claim yourself appropriately when filling out your application.

File Your FAFSA® on October 1st

In case you don’t remember, FAFSA® is first-come, first-served. Be prepared to file your application first thing on October 1st, or as close to the opening date as possible. This will ensure you meet your school deadline and qualify for the most aid possible. 

Get Your Student Aid Report (SAR)

After submitting your FAFSA® you should get your SAR within three days to three weeks. This will give you some basic eligibility information. If you see any incorrect information on your SAR, login, and correct your FAFSA® as soon as possible. 

Review Your Undergraduate Borrowing Status

Sometimes the amount of aid you’re eligible for depends on how much you received during undergraduate school. Login to your account at studentaid.gov and review your borrowing status. 

Keep these numbers in mind ahead of receiving your aid award letter to know what to expect. 

Review Your Aid Award Letter

Once your FAFSA® has been processed by the schools you elected to send it to, you’ll receive an Aid Award Letter. Review this closely to see what gift aid, student loans, and work-study opportunities you’ve been granted.

If anything is incorrect or feel that your award package is not accurate, contact your financial aid office directly. If it comes down to it, consider filing for aid appeal.

Heading off to graduate school is a big deal! Ensure you take care of yourself by filing the FAFSA® and setting yourself up for a financially secure future.