Top 10 Facts You Need To Know About The FAFSA
Last updated January 10, 2024
If you’re new to completing the FAFSA, here are 10 facts you need to know about it!
Completing the FAFSA may qualify you for a variety of different types of financial aid
Most forms of financial aid (including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study) are only available to students who have completed the FAFSA. Taking the time to complete your FAFSA can open you up to many different types of aid to help pay for college! It's completely free and can be started here.
You and your contributors must set up a StudentAid.gov account (FSA ID) before completing the FAFSA
You and your contributors (parents or spouses) are required to create StudentAid.gov accounts (FSA IDs) to access, complete, and submit the FAFSA. You will not be able to access the FAFSA without it. If you're creating a StudentAid.gov account for the first time, it's important to know that it can take up to 3 days to be authenticated. We recommend making your StudentAid.gov account a few days in advance of completing the FAFSA, so that when you're ready to sit down and fill out the form, it's already authenticated. This will save you the time and hassle of having to enter all of your personal information into the form manually.
You will use financial information from two years ago
For example, students who completed the 2023-2024 FAFSA used a completed 2021 income tax filing. For the 2024-25 FAFSA, you will use a completed 2022 income tax filing.
The FAFSA opened in December 2023 and will close on June 30, 2024
While the federal deadline for the FAFSA is June 30, some states and colleges will have their own deadlines. Check in with your state and college(s) to learn their FAFSA deadlines and ensure you're submitting on time.
You will probably need to provide parent information on the FAFSA
A majority of students will need to add parents/legal guardians as contributors to their FAFSA, even if they have a job and file their own taxes. Check out FSA's guide to who is considered an independent student on the 2024-2025 FAFSA to learn more.
If you're having trouble accessing your parents' income information, speak to your school counselor or connect with your college’s financial aid office to learn your options. Even if your parent(s) do not have a Social Security number, they will still need to create their own StudentAid.gov accounts and provide their information on the FAFSA.
You must use accurate financial information when completing your FAFSA
The 2024-2025 FAFSA allows contributors to connect to their tax information directly from the IRS, allowing for the most accurate reporting. Submitting inaccurate financial information may cause your FAFSA to be selected for verification.
Some states require you to list colleges in a certain order on the FAFSA
To be considered for state-based aid, some states may require your colleges to be listed in a specified order on your FAFSA. Check out FSA's guide for listing colleges on your FAFSA to learn what your state's rule is.
If your state doesn't have a specific rule, the best bet is to either list your top school first or to list them all in alphabetical order.
Colleges will use multiple methods to follow up on your FAFSA
To make sure you're receiving crucial information relating to your FAFSA submission, check your physical mailbox and email regularly. Be sure to tell your contributors to do the same, since they will need their own email for any official correspondence from FSA.
Most states offer free FAFSA help
Check out our list of FAFSA help by state to learn what free resources and supports are available to you.
If you have questions or need help with your FAFSA, support is out there!
In addition to the resources we shared above, there are other ways to receive help on your FAFSA! Talk to the financial aid administrators at your prospective college(s) for help or text #FAFSA to 33-55-77 to speak with one of our virtual college advisors!