How to Apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- Apply for a PIN Number.
- Complete federal income tax returns as soon as possible after January 1st.
- Complete the FAFSA.
- Keep all records used to complete the FAFSA and records of any financial aid received to refer to each year as you fill out the forms. Expect a Student Aid Report (SAR) approximately 2 weeks.
- Become acquainted with the Financial Aid Officer at the college of your choice. Contact this person if questions arise and make him or her aware of special circumstances which may limit ability to pay for college expenses.
- Schools vary on their deadlines for financial aid applications, so it is important to know the deadline of the school(s) to which you are applying. March 1 is the deadline for many schools.
- Never assume you will not qualify for financial assistance.
What is my Expected Family Contribution?
Students and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent that they’re able. This amount is the Expected Family Contribution. Calculating this amount will help you have an idea of how much you will be expected to spend for college. The difference between the total cost of college expenses and your Expected Family Contribution is considered your “financial need” and the amount of aid you’re eligible to receive.
Figure your Expected Family Contribution.