What is FAFSA?
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Federal aid is need-based aid that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Education. Your financial aid will be determined by the information you provide in your Free Application For Student Aid, or FAFSA. When it comes to getting financial aid, most students start by applying for Federal Financial Aid by filling out the FAFSA. Once it's processed, you will receive notice from the government through your school, telling you the types of aid for which you qualify and the next steps to take in receiving aid.
For more information about this and other types of financial aid, download our guide to financial aid or give us a call and we'll be happy to walk you through the process.
How do I Apply?
Apply for Federal Financial Aid with the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid).
You can complete this application online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or get a paper FAFSA form from our financial aid office, local library, or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).You can apply beginning January 1 of the year you plan to attend school, until June 30 of the following year. Be sure to check the FAFSA for the list of deadlines for state aid. Schools and states often set deadlines early in the calendar year that you must meet to receive certain types of funds-a word of advice: Apply early!
Keep a copy of your application.
Make a copy of your application (or print out a copy of your FAFSA on the Web application) so you'll have one for your records. Save all other records as well, in case there's a need to verify the information you reported.
Verify your information on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Depending on the method you used in filling it out, your Student Aid Report will be sent to you in the mail or on the Internet. It confirms the information reported on your FAFSA and will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of your family's financial strength and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.
Talk with our financial aid advisor. Make sure he or she has the information they need to determine your eligibility. We will review your SAR, and we will contact you with information stating the amount of financial aid for which you qualify. We can also refer you to other potential sources of financial aid. See our code of conduct regarding lender relationships and loans.
Research private financial aid options.
Check with your school's financial aid advisor for help in finding the private financial aid options that apply in your particular state. Also, download our guide to financial aid for more information.
What Information Will I Need to Provide?
The following checklist will help you gather the information you'll need to complete your FAFSA. By keeping copies of this information, you will save yourself time later when you are applying for private aid, as many require the same information, download our guide to financial aid.
- Your Social Security Number (you can find this on your Social Security card).
- Your previous year's Federal Income Tax Return and that of your spouse, if you are married and filing separately.
- W-2 forms or other records showing money earned in the previous tax year, not appearing on your previous year's return.
- If you're a dependent student, your parents' previous year's Federal Income Tax Return.
- Any foreign tax returns or tax returns from Puerto Rico (if applicable).
- Your previous year's untaxed income records, including: Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, or veterans' benefits records (if applicable).
- Your previous year's bank statements
- Your previous year's business and investment mortgage information-business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records (if applicable).
- Your alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen).
- If you want Independence to put together a financial aid plan for you enter our school code, 003674 on your application.
- Read all of the school information over carefully. If you have any questions about costs, or other important information, contact our financial aid department for the answers you need.
- Complete your paperwork carefully and completely, following the instructions closely.
- Pay close attention to deadline dates, so you won't miss out on aid awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Answer any letters or email you receive right away. Otherwise, you may miss a deadline.
- Keep copies of everything-including forms, communications both sent and received, relating to your application.
- Re-apply for financial aid by the deadline each year to maintain eligibility.