HOW DO I APPLY FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID?
Step 1– Get free information and help from the U.S. Department of Education at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/ or 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). You can also contact the financial aid office at the college or career school you plan to attend. Free help is available anytime during the application process. You should never have to pay for help.
Step 2– Get a FSA ID. A FSA ID lets you apply, “sign” your online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), make corrections to your application information, and more – all online. Go to https://fsaid.ed.gov/.
Step 3– Collect the documents needed to apply, including income tax returns and W-2 forms (and other records of income). A full list of what you need is at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Step 4– Complete the FAFSA between October 1 and June 30 (no exceptions to either date). Every college has different priority and regular deadlines. Apply as soon as possible after October 1 to meet school and state aid deadlines. Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Step 5– ED will send you your Student Aid Report (SAR) – the result of your FAFSA. Review your SAR, and if necessary, make changes or corrections and submit your SAR for reprocessing. Your complete, correct SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the number used to determine your federal student aid eligibility.
Step 6– If you are selected for verification, your school’s financial aid office will ask you to submit tax returns and other documents, as appropriate. Be sure to meet the school’s deadlines, or you will not receive federal student aid.
Step 7– Whether you’re selected for verification or not, make sure the financial aid office at the school had all the information needed to determine your eligibility.
Step 8– All applicants: Contact the financial aid office if you have any questions about the aid being offered. First time applicants: Review award letters from school to compare amounts and types of aid being offered. Decide which school to attend based on a combination of (a) how well the school suits your needs and (b) its affordability after all aid is taken into account.