How to Apply
Step 1: Gather the documents you will need.
- Your Social Security Number
- Your driver’s license (if any)
- Your most recent W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
- Your (and your spouse’s if you are married) most recent Federal Income Tax Return (or your Foreign Tax Return)
- Your parents’ most recent Federal Income Tax Return (if you are a dependent student)
- Your most recent untaxed income records
- Veterans benefits records
- Child support received
- Worker’s compensation
- Your current bank statements
- Your current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records
- Your alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
For a FAFSA worksheet that can help you prepare, click here.
Step 2: Obtain a PIN
The next step is to obtain a Personal Identification Number or PIN. You will use this PIN code each year to access your Federal Student Aid records online, and apply for Financial Aid. You do not have to obtain a PIN if you plan on mailing your paperwork, but it is highly recommended to speed up the process and track your application.
Apply for a Federal Student Aid PIN here.
Important: Your PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records, so you should never give your PIN to anyone, including commercial services that offer to help you complete your FAFSA. Be sure to record and keep your PIN in a safe place.
Step 3: Fill out the FAFSA
In order to determine your eligibility you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligibility is determined by your financial situation. Almost every student is eligible for some form of financial aid regardless of income or circumstances, provided that you:
- are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an eligible non-citizen;
- have a valid Social Security Number;
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- are registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male aged 18-25);
- complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes;
- do not owe refunds on any federal student grants;
- are not in default on any student loans; and
- have not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period in which federal aid was being received.
Important: All students should check with their school’s financial aid office to determine their exact FAFSA deadlines and requirements.
Federal School Code: 003125
Step 4: Sign Your Student Aid Report
A Student Aid Report (SAR) is a document you will receive after your FAFSA is processed. It will list all of your provided answers, which you should review for correctness. Make any necessary corrections. If you’ve used a PIN, you should electronically sign and submit the signature page. If you are mailing your Student Aid Report, sign it and follow the attached directions.
The SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution, which is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid during one school year. Your school will receive an electronic copy of the SAR and use this information to decide how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.
Step 5: Determine Your Options
Congratulations, you have made it through the Financial Aid Application process. You will now know how much assistance in federal loans and/or grants you are eligible for. It is at this point in the process where you can choose how much money you would like to accept and/or explore other funding options.
Important: Keep track of all deadlines and required paperwork. If you have any questions, contact your financial aid advisor.
Federal School Code: 003125
Financial Aid will be disbursed to you no sooner than the beginning of each school term. Aid will be only be disbursed if you have fulfilled all requirements, including paperwork and promissory notes.
To insure timely disbursement, it is essential to keep track of all correspondence from your lender and financial aid office. Make sure to reply in a timely manner when applicable.
IMPORTANT LOAN INFORMATION
As with any loan, make sure you fully understand the interest rates, repayment terms, and tax implications. Find out whether interest charges are variable or fixed, whether the loan has forgiveness or deferment provisions, whether you can consolidate the loan with other loans, and whether it carries prepayment penalties.
Borrow only what you need. Remember that loans must be repaid even if you do not finish school. Your education is a substantial investment. It’s one of the most important decisions you can make for your future. Take time to learn all of your financial aid options before you make any decision.