What is FAFSA? The Basics

What Is FAFSA?

There is a wide array of financial aid instruments available to those wishing to attend college. Among them are various scholarships, awards and grants, student loans and work-study employment opportunities. The cost of the required courses for a particular degree varies from school to school and may cover tuition, class fees, and possibly room and living expenses if the student plans to live at the school while attending. To initiate the financial aid process, one must complete a FAFSA form. You are now probably asking what is FAFSA? First it stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it is an application in which any student who desires to apply for assistance can fill out and submit annually.

FAFSA Deadline

The FAFSA deadline is determined by the state in which one lives in, but usually you can check for this on the FAFSA website. To have the opportunity to see if you are eligible for student aid from the federal government, you must usually have the completed application submitted before June 30th for the upcoming school term. The time limit for the state funding is usually around the middle of February and July 1st. This form can easily be completed by pulling up the FAFSA.ed.gov website where you will also find easy instructions.

FAFSA Requirements

Do you know the FAFSA requirements? This is an important question to ask. Before you begin the application process it is strongly suggested that you first gather everything you will need to complete it, as there is a lot of required financial information you must use and you do not want to waste time by going back and forth to locate the required information. The applicant will need: their driver’s license number, current bank statements, in addition to any applicable investments or mortgages which are in the name of the applicant’s guardians or parents. Also if the individual worked a job, they will need their tax returns, in addition to those of his guardian or parents. After you have gathered everything, you can begin filling out the application and you will not have to worry about tracking down the FAFSA requirements.

The Waiting Game

After submitting the application there then is the typical waiting process of about six to eight weeks. As far as determining if one qualifies or not, there are many things which are considered in the decision process. As far as some government grants (such as Pell Grants) there are certain web sites which can provide some eligibility requirements such as FinAid.org. Simply go to this website and provide the required information (the questions are similar to the FAFSA application questions). This site also has a calculator available so you can get some kind of an idea of the amount of a grant you may qualify for. Keep in mind that this calculator is only a rough estimate. The final decision regarding qualifying is determined by the federal government. Roughly the decision is based on the annual income of the student or of their guardian or parents.

Now that you have the basics you will know the answer as to what is FAFSA, as well as the FAFSA deadline.

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