In order to obtain most types of financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You can obtain the form electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov or from a college financial aid office, your high school counseling center and many libraries. The form must be filed each year.
The first time you complete the FAFSA may take a great amount of time. The five sections ask for information about you, your dependency status, your parent’s finances (required if you are a dependent student), your finances, and the colleges to which you want the FAFSA information sent. Having this information readily available will enable you to complete the form quickly.
After you have completed and submitted the FAFSA, a Student Aid Report (SAR) will be sent to you. The SAR includes the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Each school listed in section 5 of the FAFSA will use the EFC to prepare a financial aid package to help you meet your financial need. Financial need is the difference between your EFC and the cost of attending school.
If you would like to get an estimate of your Expected Family Contribution (the amount you or your family is expected to contribute towards your education costs), log on to FAFSA4caster
The deadline for submitting the FAFSA for most programs is March 2.
Filing of the FAFSA is free. You should not pay anyone or any organization to file the FAFSA.