FAFSA Tipsheet

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA stands for Free application for federal student aid.  It is the form that the federal government uses to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.  This aid includes grants, scholarships, work-study and loans to help you pay for college.  The form collects financial and demographic information.

Where can I get a FAFSA?

*Complete FAFSA on the Web: www.fafsa.ed.gov

How does it work?

Using your FAFSA, the federal processor determines your Expected Family Contribution. (EFC)

Your EFC is the amount of money your family can be expected to contribute each year to your college costs.

Your school will then try to meet your need through a financial aid award made up of funds from federal, state, school and private sources as well as loans, grants and student employment.

5 common mistakes

1. Do not leave a field blank.  Use a zero if the question does not apply to you.

2. Don't forget to report all required sources of untaxed income, such as social security or child support.

3. Use the 1040 federal tax return  for reporting income and taxes paid, not the w-2.

4. Include yourself in your parents' household size, even if you didn't live with them the previous year.

5. Sign the application.  If you are filing as a dependent, make sure your parents sign too.

tips for completing the FAFSA

Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1.

Submit the FAFSA even if you don't think you qualify for aid.

Contact your prospective college's financial aid office for additional information.

After you have completed the FAFSA

-Review your student aid report (SAR) carefully.

-Call 1-800-433-3243 if you do not receive you SAR in 4-6 weeks.

-Note your data release number (DRN).

-Check if your SAR has been selected for verification.