Complete and file the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov starting October 1st.
The colleges you list on the application will receive the results and use them to put a financial aid package together for you.
There are 4 Types of Financial Aid:
Scholarships (merit and need-based)
Grants (need-based) - money given by the government based on FAFSA results that you do not have to pay back
Work-Study (need-based) - based on FAFSA results
Loans (need-based and non-need-based) - Money given by the government based on FAFSA results that you do have to pay back.
Federal Financial Aid Vocab
FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) - This is a username and password that the student and one parent have to get to complete the FAFSA.
FAFSA (Federal Application for Free Student Aid) - the online application to apply for Federal Financial Aid. You will use your last year's household income tax information to complete it. It will be available on January 1st.
SAR (Student Aid Report) - This is the summary of your processed FAFSA application. Some scholarships will ask for this summary (ex. Susan Buffet Scholarship). It also contains your EFC number that is sent to the colleges.
EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) - a number determined to be the amount of money your household can contribute towards college. Colleges determine your student aid package using this number and other information.
FAFSA Priority Date - The date that the college sets for students to complete the FAFSA to receive the best possible financial aid package.
STUDENT AND PARENT MUST EACH GET ONE
YOU WILL BE ASKED TO PROVIDE EMAIL AND CREATE USERNAME AND PASSWORD
YOU WILL ALSO HAVE TO PROVIDE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, NAME, ADDRESS, AND DATE OF BIRTH
YOU WILL HAVE TO ANSWER 4 CHALLENGE QUESTIONS AND PICK A UNIQUE DATE
YOUR EMAIL WILL BE VERIFIED
YOU WILL USE THE FSA ID FOR:
DATA RETRIEVAL FROM IRS
ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE FOR FAFSA AND PROMISSORY NOTES
ACCESS TO GRANT AND LOAN HISTORY