Expand mobile version menu

FAFSA is the KEY!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key that opens the door to financial aid. It serves as the application for most of the financial aid from federal and state programs and from colleges and universities. Even if you are not sure that you will need financial aid, we recommend that you fill out a FAFSA anyway -- it's free.

The 2018-19 FAFSA will be launched on October 1, 2017.

When you file the 2018-19 FAFSA, you will use what the U.S. Department of Education calls the Prior Prior Year (PPY) for income information. This means that you will use your 2016 income information to complete the 2018-19 FAFSA.

You should submit the FAFSA as soon after the official starting date, which is now October 1, as possible, making sure you meet any college or state deadlines. The quickest and most accurate way to file the FAFSA is online. In contrast to a paper copy, the online form displays only the data entry fields you need to complete. You also receive directions as you need them. The FAFSA site is also available in Spanish.

To complete the FAFSA you will need an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid), a username and password that enables you to log in to some Department of Education websites.

You may wish to make use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT). This tool transfers your income tax information directly from the income tax form that you filed onto the FAFSA. Please note, during 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. As noted above, the IRS DRT will be available to use on the 2018-19 FAFSA form on FAFSA.gov when the form launches on October 1, 2017. You can read more about this process and find out when your tax information will be available through the IRS DRT here.

If you prefer to fill out a paper copy of the FAFSA, you can obtain one by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID.

The FAFSA may not be the only form required to receive an award letter from a school. You must also complete the college admissions process. Check with each of the colleges and universities you listed on your FAFSA to determine their requirements.

If you filed your FAFSA electronically, you will receive an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR) within a few days of submitting your completed FAFSA. (SAR results may take three weeks if you filed a paper FAFSA.) The SAR is the result of your FAFSA. Read it immediately and follow any directions. The schools you list on the FAFSA will also receive results.