Students interested in receiving federal financial aid.
The form is submitted to the Department of Education to determine a student’s eligibility to receive federal student loans and how much they can borrow based on their information.
By submitting an FAFSA, prospective students gain access to the largest potential source of student aid available to them.
The FAFSA Process
Students can complete and submit their applications for free through the FAFSA online portal.
They will begin by creating an FAFSA ID which will allow them to access all of their financial aid information going forward as well as electronically sign their student loan documents.
FAFSA requires students to disclose both their demographic and financial information and allows them to submit the results to up to ten schools once their application is processed. (In 2016, FAFSA was updated so as not to allow schools that receive the results to view other schools on the application list.)
Once a student submits an FAFSA, they will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) and an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). These reports are used together to determine their eligibility for federal aid based on their FAFSA information.
Any school listed on their FAFSA submission will also have access to their SAR results. Schools then use this information to create financial aid packages for incoming students.
Common Myths About FAFSA and Eligibility
There are several myths that many potential students have regarding why they wouldn’t be eligible for student aid, such as:
- They (or their parents) make too much money
- Their grades aren’t high enough
- They are now too old
- The process is too complicated and not worth the effort
This results in many students choosing not even to apply.
In reality, most students qualify for some form of student aid and should, therefore, take the time to complete and submit an FAFSA. Choosing not to may result in students missing out on significant federal aid they would’ve otherwise been eligible for.
Because of this, all students should fill out and complete an FAFSA regardless of their individual circumstances.
There are several different FAFSA deadlines that students must meet in order to remain eligible for student aid. The Federal Student Aid website helps students stay up-to-date on all FAFSA deadlines for the current year as well as any changes to the FAFSA application process.
(Also keep in mind that individual states also offer student aid and have their own FAFSA submission deadlines.) In general, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA sooner rather than later to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and expedite the application process.
Mandatory Annual Renewals
It’s also important to know that once you submit an FAFSA and are approved for federal student aid, you must also complete and submit a new FAFSA form every year to remain eligible.
Failure to submit a new form may result in a loss of eligibility benefits, so make sure to renew every year and follow-up to ensure your renewal was processed successfully.
Access to federal student aid is one of the most valuable opportunities available to prospective students.
Regardless of your individual circumstances or whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, the potential benefits from submitting an FAFSA is something every student should take advantage of!
If you’re a prospective student interested in federal student aid, you can begin the FAFSA application process here.
What is FAFSA and why does it matter?
FAFSA is an application that allows students access to the largest pool of student aid available for their student loans. To become eligible for federal student loans, every student is required to complete and submit an FAFSA.
What types of student aid does filling out an FAFSA help me with?
Filling out an FAFSA helps students obtain federal funding for their student loans.
What is my FAFSA ID and why is it important?
In May 2015, FAFSA PINs were replaced with FAFSA IDs. These identifiers consist of a username and password and will be used going forward to access all of your student aid information as well as sign documents electronically.
How do I set up my FAFSA ID?
Setting up an FAFSA ID is very simple, just click here and fill out the required information and a new ID will be created for you.
What information will I need to complete an FAFSA?
Completing an FAFSA requires you to input your personal data as well as you (or your family’s) most recent tax information, W-2’s, and bank statements. This information will be used to determine how much student aid you are eligible for. When it comes to your tax information, recent changes in the FAFSA form allow you just to click a button and have your most current tax information from the IRS inserted automatically.
When do I have to submit my FAFSA?
There are several deadlines to meet when completing an FAFSA and each state typically has their own deadlines for student aid as well. It’s important to know that some colleges and universities handle student aid on a first come, first serve basis so the earlier you can submit your FAFSA, the better.
Even if you miss a deadline or apply late, you may still be eligible for federal aid as FAFSA also allows students to receive funds retroactively.The best approach is to know the exact deadlines based on the state you’ll be attending college or university and then submit your FAFSA as early as possible.
When will I find out how much student aid I will receive?
After submitting your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which will be a summary of all your FAFSA data. An SAR will also be sent to each of the schools you selected to determine how much student aid you are eligible for. If accepted, these schools will then create financial aid packages for you based on your SAR information. The time it takes to receive your student aid packages varies by school and when you apply, but typically takes between two weeks and several months.
Why do I have to submit a new FAFSA every year?
The Department of Education requires that a new FAFSA is submitted every year to make sure your information is up-to-date and that you remain eligible for student aid. A failure to re-submit may result in a loss of your eligibility benefits.
What are some other sources of student aid?
Student aid typically comes from four places: the federal government, the state government, educational institutions, and private organizations. This aid can be in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, work-study funds, and tuition assistance.
While the largest pool of funds, the federal government, is accessed by submitting an FAFSA, additional state funds can be found by contacting your state’s financial aid agency.Many individual colleges and universities also provide institutional financial aid for their students which can be accessed by contacting your school’s financial aid office.
There are also opportunities to receive student aid from private institutions such as corporations, religious organizations, professional or service organizations, and much more. This help often comes in the form of individual loans or scholarships.
There are numerous sources of private student aid available, many of which you can find on:
- Our own site has numerous scholarship resources including our own scholarship.
- Grants for African American Students
- Scholarships and Grants for Older Students
- The form is here: FAFSA the form
Compare the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates
Here are our top student loan refinance picks for 2019
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.