Free Application for Federal Student Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a Department of Education program through the Federal Student Aid Office. The FAFSA is responsible for distributing $80 billion to 14 million students annually. Overall the program has a $400 billion loan portfolio. The money typically does not come directly from the government, but through the college or university you are attending.
“Federal Student Aid plays a central and essential role in supporting postsecondary education by providing money for college to eligible students and families. The federal government partners with postsecondary schools, financial institutions, and other participants in the Title IV student financial assistance programs to deliver services that help students and families who are paying for college.” For more information visit the “about” tab on the FAFSA website. To learn about how you can become eligible for Federal Aid, click here or the bookmark image.
For more information on what the FAFSA can offer you, please visit FAFSA website at www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Please also note parents/students, as of the 2008-2009 school year, must complete the FAFSA online and click here to be taken to where you complete the FAFSA online.
*Never pay pay for the FAFSA completion, The first “F” stands for free, so do not waste your money for something free.
Changes to the 2016/17 FAFSA season
As outlined below, there are two huge changes with the FAFSA starting for the graduating class of 2017
- The FAFSA can be submitted October 1st, instead of the past waiting until January 1st. The State of Michigan's priority deadline is still March 1st, but your personal due date should be ASAP after October 1st.
- The FAFSA now uses prior-prior year tax information, so for the graduating class of 2017, the tax information will be 2015 without exception. The information can also be retrieved utilizing the IRS Data Retrieval tool right in the FAFSA to populate data for you.
So what are you waiting for? Go get your FSAIDs (parent/guardian claiming dependent student on taxes) and lets go!
Myths about Financial aid
For anyone thinking, They won't fill out the FAFSA because... "My parents make too much money, my sibling didn't qualify" or "the form is too hard", we encourage you to look at the Student Aid Myths sheet provided by Federal Student Aid.
What if you would like to "forecast" how much federal aid you will be eligible for before the FAFSA opens?
Use the FAFSA4caster from the same Federal Aid Website that hosts the FAFSA.
What is the FAFSA4caster?
FAFSA4caster will help you understand your options for paying for college.
Provide some basic information and we'll estimate your eligibility for federal student aid. Your estimate will be shown in the "College Cost Worksheet" where you can also provide estimated amounts of other student aid and savings that can go towards your college education.
Go ahead and get started now! If you need help for a question, read the Help and Hints on the right.
During your senior year, here are a couple items to remember regarding FAFSA
- All students MUST complete the FAFSA to be eligible for many services on campuses
- Starting in October, obtain your FSA ID. Parents AND students both need to obtain their own access information and can do so on the FSA ID sign up page
- At any time visit the calculator on the FAFSA4caster page. Here your family can get a feel for the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), which is a very important number. This is a prediction of what families will likely be required to contribute to their student’s postsecondary education. If you have any questions beyond the information provided, do not hesitate to contact a financial aid office or send a message to the contact us page for more direction.
- If you are interested in how financial aid is allocated, please look at this handy page created the Federal Study Aid, "How is aid calculated".
- Parents and students need to have their taxes prepared as early as possible following January 1st of the new year. In Michigan, the FAFSA deadline is March 1st. This means students need to complete and submit their FAFSA to ensure they will have federal money available the following school year. Estimates are allowed for people not able to complete their taxes in time to complete the FAFSA. Schools ask anyone using an estimate to enter corrected information as soon as completing that year's tax return.
- DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE! The FAFSA process takes some time, especially if you have not completed the form before.
- Lastly, TRiO Pre-College Programs are here to assist with completing the FAFSA or can put you in contact with someone who can. Contact us with questions or assistance completing the form. Another option is to just ask if there are many mentors available in our local area to aid you through this process, we can assist in making connections.