FAFSA Fast Facts

Remember this short list of important items

Bullet FAFSAs are required by virtually all colleges and universities and are used to determine a student’s eligibility for nearly all types of federal, state, and college-sponsored aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.
Bullet Errors and omissions on the FAFSA often result in processing delays, which in addition to resulting in missed deadlines, cause countless students each year to miss out on all or part of the financial aid to which they might otherwise be entitled—often amounting to thousands of dollars in lost assistance.
Bullet FAFSAs that are submitted electronically are typically processed within three days after all signature requirements have been met. Paper applications that are mailed can take up to three weeks.
Bullet Financial aid—particularly grants and other forms of college-sponsored aid and assistance—is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you submit your FAFSA after January 1st each year, the better your chances of receiving consideration for the maximum amount of available financial aid for which you may be eligible.
Bullet The Department of Education advises that it typically takes parents and students 1-2 hours to complete a FAFSA on their own, and complications can add significantly to this time.
Bullet Individual state and school FAFSA submission deadlines vary widely and are often earlier than the Department of Education FAFSA submission deadlines.
Bullet Many state and school deadlines fall before the IRS tax filing deadline. The FAFSA may be completed using estimated tax information if a tax return has not been filed. There is no penalty for estimating your income, but you must make any necessary adjustments once your taxes are complete.
Bullet Even if you don’t qualify for need-based financial aid, you must still complete a FAFSA to be considered for most federal student loans.
Bullet Undergraduate and graduate students must complete and submit a new FAFSA each school year to be considered for most forms of financial aid.