Grants (FAFSA) are the best kind of financial aid because they don’t have to be repaid! Grant Awards are funds provided by the federal government that are based on household income and other factors and can be applied at the college or university of your choice. There is now a new option where you can fill out the FAFSA over the phone!
Students and parents who wish to apply for grants to attend college should apply for a PIN number at pin.ed.gov. This PIN # will serve as your electronic signature when you submit your application online. Your pin will be forwarded to your e-mail account
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Individual state and school FAFSA submission deadlines vary widely and are often earlier than the Department of Education FAFSA submission deadlines.
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.
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.
Undergraduate and graduate students must complete and submit a new FAFSA each school year to be considered for most forms of financial aid.