Where do I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
The FAFSA is the application that students must complete to apply for federal student aid, which can be used to attend an eligible college or career school. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for nonfederal sources of aid.
- The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1).
- The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year. In the FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior to that academic year.
Which tax year information is needed to complete the FAFSA?
For the 2023–24 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is 2021 income information. Considering that the 2021 tax filing deadline is April 15, 2022, and the 2023–24 FAFSA will become available on Oct. 1, 2022, applicants are very likely to have completed their taxes before October 1, and the tax information would be available to be reported on the FAFSA.
Can a student still be selected for verification if he or she is using 2021 income information on his or her 2023–24 FAFSA?
Yes. A student can be selected for verification by either the U.S. Department of Education or the student’s school. Verification is a process by which a student is required to submit documentation that the data reported on the student’s FAFSA is accurate. The financial aid administrator at a student’s college may make corrections or updates to the student’s FAFSA based on the documentation provided as part of the verification process.
Do students still have to complete the FAFSA every year?
Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one school year to the next, students will need to fill out the FAFSA for each school year in which they plan to be a student. Eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including a student’s or family’s financial situation and the number of family members enrolled in college.
How does information transfer from the IRS to the FAFSA?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) allows applicants (and their parents, if applicable) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA, and transfer the required information directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. The FAFSA includes a link to the IRS if an applicant is eligible to use the IRS DRT.
Where can I get more information about—and help with—the FAFSA?
Visit fafsa.gov and remember, as you fill out your FAFSA, you can refer to help text for every question and (during certain times of day) chat online with a customer service representative.