FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA)
What is it?: To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.
What is it not?: The FAFSA is not…
- Too hard or too long to complete
- Optional: many families believe they won’t qualify for aid, so won’t complete the FAFSA. Contrary to popular belief, you may qualify for federal student aid because it doesn’t have an income cut-off. It takes into account factors like the size of your family and your year in school. Also, the FAFSA form is not only the application for the Federal Pell Grant – it’s also the application for Federal Work-Study funds, federal student loans, and even scholarships and grants offered by your state, school, or a private organization.
- Something to take your information from you (the IRS already has all this stuff, it’s just a lot easier to organize and share with colleges this way.)
How do I file the FAFSA?
There are three steps to help you file the FAFSA:
- Students and (if you’re a dependent) parents will create a FSA-ID
- Start the FAFSA® form at fafsa.gov. There, you will enter student information, the schools you are interested in attending, fill out parent/student dependency and financial information
- You and (if you’re a dependent) your parents will sign and submit your FAFSA
The FSA-ID is your account username and password to enter the FAFSA webpage and to file your FAFSA. In order to create an FSA-ID, you will need your social security number and your own mobile phone number and/or a personal email account.
To help organize your FSA-ID information, use this organizer created by CASHS College Advising to keep track of your items: FSA-ID Organizer
For extra help, follow this step by step guide on how to create a FSA-ID: How to Create a FSA-ID
Going through the steps to filing the FAFSA may seem tricky, but here are some resources to help you input your information and answer any questions you may have.
Student Demographics: The Student Demographics section includes your name, date of birth, etc. If you either completed the FAFSA form in the past or logged into the FAFSA form with your FSA ID, most of your personal information will prepopulate to save you time. Make sure you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card.
Schools: In the School Selection section, add every school you’re considering, even if you haven’t sent your application or received an acceptance letter. It doesn’t hurt your application to add more schools. School officials can’t see the other schools.
Dependency Status: In the dependency status section, you’ll need to respond to a series of specific questions that determine whether you need to provide parent information on the FAFSA form. If you have questions about your dependency status, follow this link here!
Parent Demographics: Your parent(s) will need to provide basic demographic information. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you don’t live with your parent(s); you still must report information about them if you are a dependent student.
Providing Financial Information: Next, you and your parent(s) (if applicable) will provide financial information. This step is incredibly simple if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The IRS DRT allows you to import your IRS tax information into the FAFSA form with just a few clicks. Also, using this tool may reduce the amount of paperwork you need to provide to your school. So, make sure to use it, if you’re eligible.
If you don’t have access to the IRS DRT, you will have to use your 2021 W2s and Tax Returns. If you have questions on inputting that information, please reach out to Mr. Chastulik at his email (email@example.com).
If you have additional questions, you may also watch this video on filing the FAFSA.
Some of the schools you are applying to may also require you to create a CSS Profile. The CSS Profile is an online application used by colleges and scholarship programs to award Institutional (their own) aid.
For additional help or information, click these following links:
CSS Student Guide
CSS Profile Tutorial
PA State Grant + other Financial Aid
The PA State Grant Program has awarded over $12 billion to PA residents since 1965. PA State Grants are available to eligible Pennsylvania residents who need help paying for undergraduate study at PHEAA-approved postsecondary schools. Award amounts are subject to state funding and are based on your school costs and financial need.
Grants are available for full-time or half-time enrollment. To receive a grant, you must complete the FAFSA and enroll in an approved program of study that is at least 2 academic years in length. Additional requirements, including info about student requirements such as academic progress, can be found at PHEAA.org/StateGrant
- Too hard or too long to complete