Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To be eligible for financial aid from the federal government, your state and your college, you have to file the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – at FAFSA.gov or on the myStudentAid app.
Filing the FAFSA is the main way to secure money for college, such as the Federal Pell Grant, Indiana’s Frank O’Bannon Grant, the Workforce Ready Grant and more.
Students who missed Indiana’s April 15 FAFSA deadline can still be eligible for the Pell Grant and Workforce Ready Grant.
The FAFSA is the most important document for determining if you’re eligible for financial aid — money to help you pay for college. The easiest way to file the FAFSA is online at the FAFSA website. The website also provides a printer-friendly PDF if you prefer to mail your FAFSA.
After you file your FAFSA, your college will be able to tell you which scholarships and grants you could receive as well as how much money you can borrow in federal loans like the Parent PLUS loan.
Anyone who could be in college the following fall should file the FAFSA, including current college students and high school seniors. Even if you’re not sure if you will enroll, or if you’re already in college, you should file the FAFSA. You’ll never know what financial aid you could get if you don’t file the FAFSA, and you could potentially lose scholarships and other financial aid you currently have.
April 15 is the latest you can file the FAFSA, and the form is available October 1. Check with your college or colleges you hope to attend to make sure they don’t have an earlier deadline. Some colleges also have additional financial aid paperwork, so make sure you aren’t missing anything important.
Certain scholarships may also require you to file your FAFSA at different times. Students applying for the Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship must file the FAFSA in their junior year of high school.
It’s important to remember that all students must file the FAFSA every year while in college. And, students in 21st Century Scholars must file, even if they’re not planning on enrolling in the fall.
If you are under 23, you will need your parents’ or guardians’ information in addition to yours.
The information you will need for the FAFSA includes:
- Your Federal Student Aid ID (the FSA ID is a username and password you can create on the FAFSA website)
- Your Social Security number (found on a Social Security card)
- Your driver’s license number (if you have a driver’s license)
- Your and/or your parents’/guardians’ most recent federal tax returns (IRS forms 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A)
- Records of money earned, including W-2 forms and recent bank statements
- Alien registration numbers or permanent residence cards, if you or your parents/guardians are not U.S. citizens
You should include any college that you think you might attend in the fall. If you don’t include any college, your FAFSA will be rejected for state financial aid. Remember, you might not be accepted at your top choice school, so it’s important to give yourself options. You should always apply for at least one school that you’re confident will accept you.
You will need each college’s federal school code. You can find codes at the FAFSA website.
The easiest way to file the FAFSA is online at the FAFSA website. The website also provides a printer-friendly PDF if you prefer to mail your FAFSA. Once your FAFSA has been submitted, be sure to return to the FAFSA website to make any corrections or updates. Edits and updates must be made before a student can receive state financial aid.
Looking for more information on how to file your FAFSA? The FAFSA website contains a helpful guide on how to get through the process which can be found here. For in-person help, College Goal Sunday offers two events each FAFSA season where students can go and get free FAFSA filing assistance from experts. See when the next event is here. To learn more about planning for college, from FAFSA and beyond, visit InVestEdIndiana.org as a great free resource.