Higher education is vital for students of today’s generation as it paves the way for a successful career and financial stability. But with ever-increasing college fees and other costs, families with average or low income cannot cover their children’s education expenses and thereby succumb to the pressure of getting a student loan.
In the United States, student loans are of two types: federal and private student loans. While the financial institutions manage private student loans, the U.S. Department of Education administers federal student loans. Federal loans have lower interest rates and flexible repayment options, offering more flexibility than private loans.
Federal student loans are of four types:
Submit a ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’ (FAFSA) form to apply for a federal loan. Your college will then use data from this form to determine your federal aid eligibility.
Filling the FAFSA application is direct and hassle-free. All you have to do is, select the “Fill Out the FAFSA” button on the Federal Student Aid website’s homepage and follow the directions.
Below are the steps involved in the process –
Create an FSA ID, a combination of your username and password, that lets you sign the FAFSA form electronically. You can create the ID by visiting the Federal Student Aid website and can be used to sign loan contracts, myStudentAid app, and access some specific information online.
If you are a dependent student, your parents, whose details are recorded on the FAFSA form, will also require an FSA ID so that they can electronically sign your application. But if your parent doesn’t have a Social Security Number (SSN), they cannot create the ID and will have to choose the option to print a signature page.
While filing the FAFSA form, you will be required to enter several details, including your name, address, date of birth, and financial situation. Depending on whether you are a U.S. citizen and the tax form you use, etc., you might need additional information as you fill the application. They include:
Next, fill the FAFSA form. You can choose any of the following methods to fill the form for the first time:
If you filled out a FAFSA form the previous year and want to renew it, then go to the FAFSA home page and select “Login.” Next, select “I am the student,” enter your FSA ID, and click “FAFSA RENEWAL.” The system will fill non-financial fields for you. However, make sure you update information that has changed since last year, if any.
Before submitting your FAFSA form, you have to sign it. Make sure you sign the form with your FSA ID. Doing so will help you process the form quickly. If you have provided parent information, then one of your parents needs to sign your application. Note that if you logged in to your form by providing the FSA ID, you need not use it again while signing.
Once you apply, you will see the confirmation page indicating your submission was successful. If you have included an email address on the form, you will receive the confirmation page by email.
Your FAFSA confirmation page includes an option for the parent information in your application that transfers automatically into another student’s form. You can use this if you have a sibling who requires you to fill the FAFSA application. However, if you are filing the FAFSA form on the myStudentAid app, you will only see this option if your parents sign and submit it after you.
It is important to note that some states may allow you to transfer your complete information directly into your state aid form, provided they have collaborated with the Federal Student Aid. So, if you find a link from your confirmation page to your state financial aid, you must select it.
After you submit your FAFSA form, you can check its status immediately. Go to myStudentAid mobile app or fafsa.gov and log in with your FSA ID. If you submitted a paper FAFSA form, you can check the status after it has been processed, i.e., approximately 7 to 10 days from the mailing date. If you have any queries, you can visit the Federal Student Aid Information Center and chat with the authorities or call 1?800-4FED?AID (1?800-433?3243).
The federal FAFSA due date for the academic year 2020-2021 is 11:59 p.m. CT on June 30, 2021. You can submit any corrections or updates by 11:59 p.m. CT on September 11, 2021. The FAFSA deadline for the academic year 2021-2022 is 11:59 p.m. CT on June 30, 2022. You can make any corrections or updates by 11:59 p.m. CT on September 10, 2022.
Each state and college has its deadline. Check with your state and college to know the deadline for FAFSA Application.