Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly referred to as FAFSA, is a form that any anticipating undergraduate or graduate student in the United States in need of educational funding can fill to evaluate whether they are eligible for government funding. It is regulated by the US Department of Education and is distributed by the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.
Questions on the FAFSA form evaluate a student’s financial status and needs, as well as the financial needs of the family. No question addresses matters of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or ethnicity, showing that applications for the FAFSA are not discriminatory in any way.
An applicant is eligible for Federal Student Aid if they meet a certain criteria. The person should be a US citizen, national or eligible non-citizen, and have a valid Social Security number. A high school diploma or GED, or a pass in an Ability-ti-Benefit test for adult students is also required. For male students aged between 18 and 25, the applicant should be registered with the US Selective Service, meaning that they can be called to military service.
Other qualifications include that the applicant should not owe any refunds to any student grants, should not be convicted of drug possession or sale, and should promise to use the federal aid for education purposes only.
Applying for federal aid through FAFSA occurs in three steps. The first is to prepare all the documents necessary for the application; the second step is to fill out the FAFSA itself; the last step is to await the results of the application.
The documents required for the application include the applicant’s driver’s license if there is one, records of the applicant’s income such as the W-1 forms, current bank statements. Dependent students should get their parents’ federal tax returns records, while non-dependent students should get their own tax records and their spouse’s if they are married. Untaxed income records such as Veteran benefits, child support, and worker’s compensation should be included if applicable.
After gathering these documents, a FAFSA form is available online for the applicant to fill from FAFSA.ED.gov. The form will require the applicant to select the year of application and other details about financial conditions, the school that the applicant intends to study in as well as the course code of the degree they desire. The completed form is then submitted online, which ushers the student into the third step of the process: waiting for results.
Applicants are able to check the progress of their FAFSA applications online by using the PIN number given at the end of Step 2 to log in to the Fafsa.ed.gov website. The PIN can be used to correct any information on the FAFSA form especially updating financial records and other details. It is also used to access information from the Department of Education website. During the waiting process, the schools chosen in Step 2 automatically receive information that you have applied for funding due to the school and course codes. This makes it convenient for the school to receive the grants directly.
FAFSA applications go through rigorous examination by the relevant bodies, so all information included in the application should be truthful and accurate to guarantee success in receiving aid for university education.