College Admissions » FAFSA

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an annual form that students complete to determine how much money a college/university might give you!

FAFSA IS AVAILABLE TO COMPLETE STARTING OCTOBER 1st

JANUARY 15th is the PRIORITY DEADLINE for FAFSA COMPLETION

However, each school has its own deadline.  Meeting school and state deadlines can make a difference in the amount of aid a student receives.

Based on the information you provide on the FAFSA, you may be offered grants, scholarships, work-study and low-interest student loans by the federal government, state government and your college or university. The greater your financial need, the more ‘free money’ you may receive.

FAFSA HELPS YOU TO POSSIBLY EARN MONEY TOWARD COLLEGE

financial aid from FAFSA examples

 

TO START, PLEASE WATCH THE PRESENTATION BELOW

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO COMPLETE FAFSA

 What You Need for FAFSA

 

The US Department of Education gives more detailed information about the 7 things you need to complete FAFSA.

BEFORE YOU COMPLETE FAFSA

Prior to beginning the FAFSA process, families should create and FSA ID.  To create an FSA ID:

  1. Log into gov and click the FSA ID link to create an FSA ID.
  2. Create a username and password, and enter your e-mail address (it’s suggested you use a personal email address, not the school email address).
  3. Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers.
  4. If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you will be able to enter it and link it to our FSA ID. You can still create an FSA ID if you have forgotten or do not have a PIN.
  5. Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions.
  6. Confirm your e-mail address using the secure code, which will be sent to the e-mail address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your e-mail address, you can use it instead of your username to log in to the websites.

You can use your FSA ID to sign a FAFSA right away! Once the Social Security Administration verifies your information in one to three days, or if you have linked your PIN to your FSA ID, you will be able to use your FSA ID to access the websites listed above. For help, visit StudentAid.gov/fsaid.

HOW TO COMPLETE FAFSA

 

There are 7 sections to the FAFSA that must be completed with accurate information:

7 sections of FAFSA

Nitro College provides a Step-By-Step Guide to Completing the FAFSA that can be helpful with detailed explanations for each step.

When you have everything ready to go, all documents collected and your FSA ID set up, login at:

FAFSA.GOV

While completing the FAFSA, you may be able to utilize the IRS DATA Retrieval Tool. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows students and parents who filed a U.S. tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan requests by transferring the data directly into their forms.
 
Although the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is a great feature to use when completing a FAFSA, there are a number of situations in which students or their parents are not eligible to use this tool. Students or parents may be ineligible if:
  • The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or his/her spouse filed as married filing separately.
  • The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or his/her spouse filed as head of household.
  • The parents’ marital status is unmarried and both legal parents living together.
  • The student/parent filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return, or an IRS Form 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ
 

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN COMPLETING FAFSA

 

When completing the FAFSA, make sure to avoid these common mistakes:

HOW CAN I GET HELP ON COMPLETING FAFSA?

 

If a student is filling the FAFSA out at certain times of day (usually Monday-Friday between 8am and 8pm Eastern time; sometimes Saturday and even Sunday hours as well), he or she can get help via live chat within the application or by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-4-FED-AID.

 

If you need any help or have any questions about how to complete any section of the FAFSA, please contact Mr. Barnett directly.  Support could even include individualized advising sessions, where Mr. Barnett will assist you in completing all necessary components of FAFSA. 

 

AFTER FAFSA HAS BEEN COMPLETED

 

After students complete and submit the FAFSA, there are two important documents that they should be aware of:

  • Confirmation page with a confirmation number: The confirmation number is proof that the application was successfully submitted. The confirmation page appears in the browser immediately after the application is submitted.
  • Student Aid Report (SAR): The SAR is sent via email in 3–5 days or via postal mail if no email address is on file within 7–10 days. If the application is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will display on the SAR. If the application is incomplete, the SAR will not include an EFC but it will display text that specifies any issues that need to be resolved.


Note: There are a few differences between the emailed confirmation and the one shown on fafsa.gov before exiting the application.  It is recommended that students print or save the confirmation page before exiting. For example, the emailed confirmation won't include the college graduation, retention, and transfer rates for schools listed on the FAFSA form. For more information visit Federal Student Aid's Signing and Submitting the FAFSA Form section.

 

 

A student can submit the application any time until the end of the award year to apply for federal aid. However, it’s important to note that state higher education agencies and many colleges use FAFSA information to determine a student’s eligibility for aid from their state or school funds. Therefore, the student should check fafsa.gov for his or her state deadline and the college’s website for the school’s deadline.

 

MEETING THE GRADUATION REQUIREMENT

 

In order to meet the Financial Aid Graduation Requirement, a student must do one of the following in order to graduate:

 
 
If a student is completing and submitting FAFSA, Mr. Barnett will have access to necessary documentation through the ApplyTexas Counselor Suite. 
 
However, students will also need to submit either of the following:
  • screenshot of the confirmation page with a confirmation number (the FAFSA submission acknowledgement page). The confirmation page appears in the browser immediately after the application is submitted
  • email confirmation of the submission (the notification from USDE that demonstrates a student has completed and submitted a FAFSA)
 
Submitting either of these documents will verify that the student has met the financial aid application graduation requirement by completing and submitting FAFSA.
 

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR ELIGIBILITY TO COMPLETE FAFSA?  ARE YOU A DACA STUDENT OR HAVE PARENTS THAT DON'T LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES?

 

If you need any help or have any questions about how to complete any section of the FAFSA, please contact Mr. Barnett directly.  Mr. Barnett can help you determine your eligibility and help you with your unique case.  Support could even include individualized advising sessions, where Mr. Barnett will assist you in completing all necessary components of FAFSA. 

 

WANT MORE GUIDANCE OVER THE FAFSA and the FINANCIAL AID GRADUATION REQUIREMENT?

 

We recommend you visit the TexasOnCourse website for parents and/or students by clicking on the links below:

 

family guidance for financial aid

Student Guidance website

 

AM I A DEPENDENT or INDEPENDENT STUDENT?

 

WHO IS MY PARENT WHEN I FILL OUT MY FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION?