Essential Things You Should Know About FAFSA

Essential Things You Should Know About FAFSA

Essential Things You Should Know About FAFSA

Students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for financial aid. You can apply for available institutional, state, and federal financial aid using this form. Financial aid may take the shape of loans, grants, scholarships, or work-study.

Financial help is made possible in part by funding from the federal, state, and college governments. Every year starting on October 1st, you can apply for federal financial aid through the FAFSA, which you have to submit each year you are enrolled in college.

Essential Things You Should Know About FAFSA
Essential Things You Should Know About FAFSA

Taxes you need for FAFSA 2023-24

The IRS tax forms for 2021, the “base year” for 2023–2024, are the source of information requested on the FAFSA form on income and taxes paid. The family’s financial status for the current year is predicted using information from the completed tax year.

You may be subject to the FAFSA questions on untaxed income, including child support, interest income, and noneducation benefits for veterans. When asked these questions on the FAFSA form for 2023–2024, you will report information from the calendar year or taxes for 2021.

When to fill out the FAFSA for 2024

To be eligible for federal student aid during the 2023–24 award year (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024), you must submit an FAFSA between October 1, 2022, and June 30, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT).

Essential Things You Should Know About FAFSA

These are some fundamental FAFSA informational items:

1. To determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), information from the FAFSA is needed

Your eligibility for federal student aid and other forms of financial help is determined by your EFC. Your FAFSA data served as the basis for it. After submitting the FAFSA, your family will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that includes your EFC in two weeks.

To help them calculate your financial aid package, the SAR is also sent to every college you indicated on your FAFSA. The college will offer you a financial aid package if you are accepted, and it may include work-study, loans, grants, and scholarships, among other things.

The Financial Aid office at your college is in charge of managing and allocating the financial aid money that is available from state, federal, and college sources.

2. The FAFSA submission deadline varies by college

Remember that there are three deadlines for financial aid: the college’s deadline, the federal student aid deadline, and the state financial aid deadline.

The deadline that the college sets is the most significant date. Check out the financial assistance page at the college to find out the deadlines and priorities.

States have different deadlines, but generally speaking, the federal deadline is set by June 30, nine months after it becomes accessible on October 1.

Since some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you should submit your application(s) as soon as possible.

The FAFSA is available for high school students to fill out and submit in the fall of their senior year.

3. Federal student funding is usually available to most students

You should begin by completing the FAFSA if you want to be eligible for the maximum amount of financial help. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 83–85% of first-time, full-year undergraduate students in the 2016–17 academic year received financial aid of some kind.

About $150 billion is distributed annually in the form of loans, grants, and work-study money. Due to incomplete FAFSA forms, about $2.9 billion in federal student aid is unclaimed by students who qualify for it.

4. Make an early FAFSA submission

Earlier filing will improve your chances of receiving a larger award. Since the FAFSA is available on October 1st of every year and the tax information needed is from the prior-prior tax year (PPY), which is tax information your parents have previously filed with the IRS, it is now much simpler to file your application early.

Apply early, as there are limited financial aid monies available on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA may be required by some private universities

The first step in applying for institutional aid (the college’s finances) and federal student aid (at many colleges) is to complete the FAFSA application.

If you are applying to a private college, you could also be required to fill out the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application. Typically, institutional aid, or non-federal student aid funded by the college itself, is submitted through the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE forms. Speak with the Financial Aid Office at your college.

6. Before submitting your FAFSA, you can obtain an estimate of your financial aid

You can estimate your net price using the Net Price Calculator (NPC) available at each college. The total cost of attending the college (tuition, lodging & board, and fees) less any grants or scholarships you may be qualified for is your net price.

Know that the Net Price does not imply financial assistance; rather, it is merely an estimate. Furthermore, not every Net Price Calculator is made equally.

The better NPC, like the one from the College Board, will take ten to fifteen minutes to finish. You should be ready to respond to inquiries about your class rank, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, family income, assets, and household composition (including the number of college-age children).

Calculators that merely ask a few simple questions should be avoided as they usually yield the most inaccurate estimate.


Your precise financial aid award will only be known to you if you have completed the FAFSA. When in doubt, get information from the college’s financial aid office.

They’ll be able to provide you with the most precise information required to secure the greatest amount of financial assistance.


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