The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the federal student aid application used by most post-secondary institutions for federal student aid. Students must complete the FAFSA to be considered for a Direct Loan or any other type of federal student aid. The FAFSA takes an applicants current income, assets, and family size to determine if they are eligible to receive federal student aid. It also determines if applicants are eligible to receive a Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Student Loan. Students in financial need due to their income level or financial circumstances will be eligible to receive a subsidized direct loan. Students that arenít in financial need, but would like additional college funds may be eligible to receive an unsubsidized direct loan.
The FAFSA Application is the only federal student aid application used to determine if you are eligible to receive a federal direct loan or any other form of financial aid for post-secondary education. The application is completely free and does not cost any money to complete or submit. There are some online FAFSA companies that will assist you in the completion of your application and they do charge a fee. This service is not necessary and many applicants are able to complete their application on their own.
Financial aid applicants can complete the FAFSA online, paper form, or through a PDF file. Students that complete the FAFSA online will need a FAFSA PIN, which acts as the studentís electronic signature. Completing the FAFSA online is the most efficient way to submit your application. Students that receive confirmation that their application has been received through email and can check their status at any time online. Students also have the option of completing their FAFSA application through PDF file. Students can download a PDF FAFSA application through the federal student aid website and complete offline. The application must be printed and mailed by the official due date. Students should mail their application with a return receipt to confirm that their application has been received. Students that arenít able to complete their application online or download a PDF copy can stop by their schoolís financial aid office for an official FAFSA application. Students that complete the paper FAFSA should also request a return receipt when mailing their application to confirm that their application has been received.
Students that complete the FAFSA will receive a student aid report (SAR), which outlines the studentís total award package at each school listed in their FAFSA. The schools that are listed in the application will be informed of the studentís total federal student aid award amount as well. Also within the SAR Report, students will find their EFC (Expected Family Contribution) score. Students that have a lower EFC score are more likely to receive some form of federal student aid. The lowest EFC score possible is 0 and goes up to 99999.
Itís important for students to understand that the FAFSA application must be completed in order to receive federal student aid, which include Direct Loans. The application must be completed each year in order to be eligible for the following school year. We want to reiterate that it does not cost applicants any money to complete and submit their FAFSA. Many students are able to complete their application on their own or with the help of a family member. The application will take some time to complete, so itís important that you allot enough time to input and review your financial information. All FAFSA applications must be complete and accurate or it will be retuned an ineligible for review.
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