How do I apply for financial aid?
You should complete the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after
October 1 of your senior year in high school. By completing this application
you have applied for funds awarded by most federal and state agencies.
- Applications are processed and results are sent to the colleges you listed
on the FAFSA.
Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will be provided to you to confirm data
(a few days after submitting your application if you filed online).
- Your school will then provide you with an award letter outlining types
of aid for which you are eligible. Further instructions will be included in
If the financial aid office has determined that you will need a loan,
contact the financial aid administrator regarding the procedures to apply
for federal loans.
- Apply for other scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible
outside of the college or university. For more information, talk with your
high school counselor.
When her daughter was applying to colleges, Mary Crippen says that
the financial aid offices provided excellent materials and online instructions
about the aid process.
"I was able to complete the entire process online
using the instructions without assistance from the financial aid office or
paid outside consultants," Crippen says.
Crippen recommends keeping
the family financial records organized for easy tax preparation. She also
says it's important to keep track of deadlines for certain parts of the process.
you are filing the FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year, you can report 2016
income information on the 2018-2019 FAFSA.
The FAFSA can be updated
with information from a completed tax return at a later date.
have filed your taxes before completing the FAFSA, you may be able to save
time by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). This will also ensure
your FAFSA tax information is accurate -- you won't have to worry about making
mistakes since the IRS DRT transfers your tax information for you.
Student Aid announced on May 3, 2017 that it was discontinuing the IRS DRT
for the 2017-18 FAFSA until it could develop enhancements to protect sensitive
data. The IRS turned off the CRT following concerns that data from the tool
could be used by identity thieves to file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS
DRT will be available to use on the 2018-19 FAFSA form on fafsa.gov when the
form launches on October 1, 2017.
On June 2, 2017, Federal Student Aid
announced that the DRT is now available for borrowers applying for an income-driven
repayment plan on StudentLoans.gov. To address privacy and security concerns,
the tax return information will be encrypted and hidden from borrower's view
on the IRS DRT web page, as well as on the online income-driven repayment
For updates and further information about the IRS
DRT, please go to: Student Aid.gov DRT.