FAFSA: The First Step In Getting Student Financial Aid

If you want student financial aid, FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is an important acronym to remember. FAFSA is the US Department of Education’s master loan application form. Whether or not you apply for or receive federal student financial aid, FAFSA is the form used by traditional and online institutions to determine eligibility for available federal, state and private student financial aid programs.

Federal Student Aid Programs Available to All

You’ve decided to earn an online degree, but as a working adult, aren’t sure if you qualify for student financial aid. Fear not — the U.S. Department of Education recognizes that many adults returning to college prefer to earn an online degree. Many institutions offering online degrees qualify for student financial aid programs. The first step in applying for any kind of student financial aid is to fill out the FAFSA online.

FAFSA: It’s Free to Apply

The FAFSA is available on the U.S. Dept. of Education website in early January, and must be completed by June of each year you’ll attend school. Filing the FAFSA application is free. Many companies charge a fee for completing the FAFSA, but if you complete the FAFSA on the U.S. Dept of Education’s user friendly website, it is free.

Getting Started: Have Your Information Handy

The FAFSA is several pages long, and depending on your circumstances, can take awhile to complete. It’s a good idea to read through the form and gather the information you’ll need:

  • Tax returns for prior year
  • Record of all income for previous year
  • Driver’s license and social security number
  • Your school’s FAFSA ID #

If you’re married, you’ll need to supply financial information for both you and your spouse. If you want to earn an online degree, check with your school’s financial aid office. They can help you complete the FAFSA, and will help determine your eligibility for student financial aid programs.