The FAFSA — Your Ticket to Financial Aid

Fill out the FAFSA — It's your first step to receiving money for college.


If you're beginning to realize that you need more money to get through college, remember five letters— F - A - F - S - A. That stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Most financial aid programs look to it first to see what aid you qualify for.

Ask your financial aid office for an application. You can also request an application from Texas Guaranteed at (800) 845-6267. It's even available in Spanish.

Don't like paper? Fill out the FAFSA online.
 
Submit the FAFSA after January 1 for the next academic year. Don't put it off! Some aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.Check with your school to see if they have a deadline. Don't miss out on money because you were slow.

Completing the FAFSA

On the FAFSA, you supply information that helps determine how much money you and your family can contribute to your education. It's called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The difference between how much it costs to attend school and your EFC is called your need— how much aid you need to meet the cost of your education.

Before completing the FAFSA, look over the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet and gather the following information:

  • Student and parent income tax returns or as close an estimate as possible,
  • Student and parent W-2 forms and other records of money earned,
  • Records of untaxed income,
  • Current bank statements,
  • Business and farm records,
  • Records of investments,
  • Student's driver's license and
  • Student's and parent's social security cards.

Answer all the questions, even if you have to estimate. You'll have an opportunity to correct your answers later if necessary.

List up to six colleges, universities, or schools you're interested in attending. The information you put on the FAFSA will be sent to those schools automatically.

Don't forget to sign the form! Don't forget to have a parent sign the form, too!

If you complete a paper FAFSA mail it to the Federal Student Aid Programs in the envelope included with the FAFSA materials. The Federal Student Aid Programs will process your information, mail you a Student Aid Report, and forward details to the schools you listed on the FAFSA. If you qualify for aid at any of the schools, they will send you an award letter if you have been accepted for admission at those schools.

If you don't hear something within four weeks, check the status of your FAFSA by calling the federal student aid information number at (800) 4-FED-AID, to answer general questions about federal student aid programs.

Renewal FAFSA

If you completed a FAFSA in the previous year, you probably won't have to fill out the full form again this year. Instead, a Renewal FAFSA may be mailed to your home. Because much of your information won't change, the Renewal FAFSA will pre-print about three-quarters of your responses from last year. Simply review those responses to make sure they're still accurate, make corrections where necessary and answer any remaining questions.Then mail the Renewal FAFSA in to the Federal Student Aid Programs.

If you don't receive your Renewal FAFSA by February 15, you should complete a new FAFSA form.

See also


Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: