FAFSA - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The federal government has one form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that it uses to decide how much financial aid you qualify for. This form is sent to each school you list so those schools can award financial aid based on your family's financial situation. State governments may also use the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state aid.

The FAFSA is a free form that may be completed without professional assistance via paper or electronic forms provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Filling out the FAFSA can be confusing. If you want assistance, contact ICAN for an appointment.

Request an FSA ID

An FSA ID, or Federal Student Aid Identification, can be used to electronically sign or update the electronic form. If you are anxious about how your financial aid is coming together, you can also use your FSA IDto check the status of your application online.

You and one of your parents should each request an FSA ID at http://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.

Why Does the Form Need to Be Filled Out?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) needs to be filled out (by you and your parents) every year you want to be considered for financial aid. The information on this form is used to decide how much financial aid you qualify for from the federal government, the state and colleges.

When Should It Be Filled Out?

The form can be filled out anytime after Oct. 1 of your senior year of high school and before your college's financial aid priority deadline.

Where Is the Form?

You can go online to www.fafsa.gov to fill out an electronic form or you can use a paper form. If you want to have a paper form sent to you, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4-FED-AID. It's a good idea to file the form electronically so mistakes aren't made by someone else inputting your information and so your form will be processed more quickly.

What Materials Are Needed to Fill Out the Form?

You and your parents will need your most recent federal tax returns and W-2 forms, plus your current bank account and investment statements. View ICAN's FAFSA Checklist (PDF) for a detailed list.

Is Help With the Form Available?

You can fill the forms out and file them yourself. But if you find that you do need help, contact ICAN for assistance.

Will I Need to Submit Anything Besides My Form?

Obviously, you will need to file applications with any schools you hope to attend. Besides that and the FAFSA, schools may need additional forms before financial aid is determined. Check with each school you're applying to on its requirements.

Can I Find Out What I Qualify For Before Oct. 1?

You can get an estimate of the federal financial aid you may qualify for by using the U.S. Department of Education's FAFSA 4caster.

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