The U. S. Department of Education’s website for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, www.fafsa.ed.gov, and telephone help line, 1 -800-4-FEDAID are two of the best sources for financial aid information and answers to your financial aid questions.

1. What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the U. S. Department of Education (DOE) Federal Student Aid Program’s application form used to apply for post-secondary federal student aid. It must be completed each year the student attends college.

2. What types of student financial aid are available through FAFSA?

The three types of student financial aid are grants, loans and college work-study.

  • Grants are federal and state money awarded to students for post–secondary tuition, housing and expenses. The Pell Grant is the largest of the federal grants and eligibility for the Pell Grant may qualify the student for other university funds, Federal (www.studentaid.ed.gov) and State aid (www.hhloans.com ).
  • Loans may be Federal or State, must be paid back and may accrue interest. Federal loans include: Subsidized Stafford Loan, Parent/Plus Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan.
  • Federal Work–Study is a job, usually on campus, allowing students to earn money.

3. Besides the Pell Grant, what are other available federal grants?

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for undergraduates with exceptional financial need and Federal Pell Grant eligible.
  • TEACH Grant–Available to students interested in becoming educators and who are willing to sign a commitment to teach.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant–for students who are not Pell eligible, whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11.

4. Who and when should the FAFSA be completed?

It is recommended that all prospective and current college students complete the FAFSA every year as soon as the previous year tax returns are completed. The FAFSA becomes available on January 1 at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

5. Is there a deadline for submitting the FAFSA?

There is no deadline for the FAFSA. It may be filled out anytime during the academic year. However, colleges and universities have financial aid deadlines to which they strictly adhere and, it is to a student’s advantage to be awarded as early as possible.

An application is considered early when filed in the February/March timeframe, unless your college/university has an earlier deadline.

6.What are the advantages to submitting my FAFSA early?

Early submission of the FAFSA will best ensure that:

  • You will meet the college/university financial aid deadline date. Deadlines are very strict.
  • You will be notified of any additional documents needed. Therefore, you will be able to complete and submit all financial aid documents your college may request in a timely manner (example: verification).
  • Your award letter or on-line award offer is made and you will be able to accept their award early.
  • Distribution of money from small and large federal and state sources is ensured. Small sources such as the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and State monies are depleted early and are not replenished.

7. What is a Personal Identification Number (PIN)?

The Federal Student Aid Program issues a four-digit Personal Identification Number to students and parents. Students and at least one parent should request a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov any time before completing a FAFSA.

8. What is the PIN used for?

The PIN is used to electronically sign the FAFSA, make on-line corrections to the FAFSA, and access the student’s Student Aid Report (SAR). The PIN can also be used to sign a student’s Master Promissory Note to finalize student loan requests and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA.

9. If my parent has a PIN because he, she or my sibling went to college, can this PIN be used?

Yes, only one PIN is issued per social security number. If a parent already has a PIN number, he or she will not be able to attain a new PIN until the old one is deactivated.

10. What if my parent or I forget or lost an already issued PIN?

Anyone can request a duplicate PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.

11. What information & documents are needed to complete the FAFSA?

To complete the FAFSA, the following documents are needed:

  • Student’s and parents’ social security numbers
  • Student’s alien registration number if applicable
  • Student’s and parents’ exact dates of birth
  • Student’s and parents’ previous year IRS tax forms and W2s or link into IRS
  • Student’s and parents’ untaxed income information (e.g. child support)
  • Student’s and parents’ other financial information (e.g. business net worth, farm assets, etc.)

12. How will the above information be used?

Financial, personal and household information you provide on the FAFSA will be used by the DOE to determine what kind and how much federal aid you may be eligible to receive.

13. What happens after I submit the FAFSA?

Once the submitted FAFSA is processed, the DOE issues the Student Aid Report (SAR) which is sent to the student and the colleges listed by the student on the FAFSA.

14. How many colleges/universities can I list on the FAFSA to receive my SAR?

Students may list up to ten (10) colleges on the FAFSA and may add more after the FAFSA processes.