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 and after October
1 of each year you are in college. 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.
Your SAR will arrive by email if you provided a valid email address, otherwise
it will arrive by regular mail.
- 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 2020-2021 school year, you can report 2018
income information on the 2020-2021 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 discontinued the IRS DRT for the 2017-18 FAFSA until it could
develop enhancements to protect sensitive data between March 30, 2017 and
October 1, 2017. The IRS turned off the DRT following concerns that data from
the tool could be used by identity thieves to file fraudulent tax returns.
The IRS DRT was made available again for use on the 2018-19 FAFSA form on
fafsa.gov when the form launched on October 1, 2017. New encryption protections
have been added to the Data Retrieval Tool to further protect taxpayer information.
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 plan application.
and further information about the IRS DRT, please go to: StudentAid.gov.