FAFSA Student Aid

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Financial aid helps students pay for college education expenses by giving them monetary help. There are many different types of financial aid, including grants, loans, and scholarships. College students typically apply for financial aid through a process called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is commonly referred to as FAFSA. This article provides information on FAFSA and financial aid, including an explanation of terms and an explanation of the six steps in applying for FAFSA Student Aid.


What is FAFSA
Student Aid?

The FAFSA Student Aid is an application that students and their parents must fill out if they plan on attending a post-secondary school, such as a college or vocational school. This application requires information about the student’s income, savings, and investments. The purpose of this application is to give students a better idea of what type of federal student aid they qualify for.

In the term Federal Student Aid, the word “federal” is used when talking about federal student aid. Federal student aid is financial aid given by the U.S. Department of Education through federal programs, such as Pell Grants. The word “aid”, in this context, is generally used when talking about college financialaid.

How does FAFSA
Student Aid work?

In a nutshell, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is a tool to determine how much financial aid a student is eligible for. The amount of money that a student receives from FAFSA Student Aid will depend on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a formula that calculates how much money a family can contribute to their students’ college expenses. A student’s EFC calculation is based on a variety of factors, including income, assets, and benefits. Other factors such as the Cost of Attendance (COA), the year the student is enrolled in, the state of residency, etc., also determine the amount of FAFSA Student Aid one can receive.

After a student fills out the FAFSA application, they will receive information about financial aid for college. The financial aid information will include how much money the student qualifies for in FAFSA Student Aid. Subsequently, the student will receive the money by having it sent to their college or by having the money sent to them directly.

How To Apply For FAFSA
Student Aid?

The FAFSA Student Aid has 6 steps. Applicants are required to complete each step, essential for a complete FAFSA form.


The first step is to gather all the necessary documents for a successful FAFSA application. Some of the essential requirements are:

  • The student’s Social Security Number.
  • The parents’ Social Security Numbers (if applying as a dependent student).
  • Driver’s License Number (if available).
  • Alien Registration Number (if the student is not a U.S. citizen).
  • Federal tax information or tax returns, including IRS W-2 information (for the student and their spouse, if married; and for parents, if applying as a dependent student).
  • Records of untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits (for the student and for parents if applying as a dependent student).
  • Information on cash, investments – including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which the student lives), business and farm assets, and savings and checking account balances (for the student and for parents, if applying as a dependent student).

Students must also create an FSA ID to fill up the FAFSA form, sign loan contracts, access the myStudentAid app, and access certain information online. If applying as a dependent, both the parents of the student must also create their FSA IDs.


The next step to applying for FAFSA student aid is to complete the FAFSA online. They can fill in the form either electronically or on paper. Each section must be filled with accurate and the most up-to-date information carefully. Those eligible can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to populate some sections of the form. Students applying as dependents will have to provide information for their parents, where applicable.


The next step is to access and review the Student Aid Report (SAR), an electronic or paper document that summarizes the information that was supplied on the student’s FAFSA form once it was submitted. The SAR contains information such as the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), anticipated eligibility for federal student loans, and Pell Grants. If they have been chosen for verification, students can log in at fafsa.gov to view their SAR.


The next step to applying for FAFSA student aid is to accept an offer of federal student aid. When the financial aid office at the school gives the student an aid offer, they will be asked to specify which financial aid they want. Students should scrutinize their alternatives and make an informed decision. Applicants must sign a statement that is sent by their school confirming that they have accepted this federal aid.


The next step is to receive the Federal student aid that has been awarded to and accepted by the student. The type of aid the student accepted will determine how they will receive it. For example, for scholarships and grants, the school will typically use the grant or loan money to pay for tuition, fees, and room and board (if living on campus). Any funds remaining are sent directly to the student for other educational expenditures.


The final step to applying for FAFSA student aid is to renew the application every year. The FAFSA form is applicable only for a single academic year, which is why students need to submit a FAFSA form each year, and also make sure that they meet the FAFSA deadlines for their state and college aid to maximize the aid they could receive.

Note: When students apply for financial FAFSA, they are advised to check the FAFSA official site for updates related to the Covid-19 pandemic, for which some specific requirements could be altered or waived.

What Happens After Applying For
FAFSA Student Aid?

Once the student has applied for FAFSA Student Aid, there are a few processes that take place in the background and a few that the student must follow up on next. These steps include:

1. Know

The Student Aid Report will mention the amount of aid the student is eligible for, which is essential for the student to know. Apart from the student’s year in school and enrollment status, the college’s financial aid office will determine how much financial aid the student is eligible to receive. To do this, the following paraments will be computed:

  • Cost of Attendance (COA) at that school.
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • The EFC is subtracted from the COA to determine the amount of financial need and consequently how much need-based aid the student can get.
  • Any financial aid the student has already been awarded is subtracted from the COA to determine how much non-need-based aid they can get.
2. Compare

Students who specified a school on their FAFSA form and were accepted will be sent a financial aid offered by the school’s financial aid office. The offer details the different types and amounts of financial help available from federal, state, private, and school sources, together constitute the student’s financial aid package. Because a financial aid package is tailored to the student and is dependent on the cost of attending a certain school, the amount of aid they receive will differ from one school to the next. Therefore, it is essential for students to compare all offers received to make an informed choice.

3. Reply

When the financial aid office at the school the student has applied to gives them an aid offer, they will be asked to specify which financial aid they want. Students should examine their options and alternatives carefully and make an informed decision. Preferably the choice should follow the order of (a) Free money (scholarships, grants), (b) Earned money (work-study, assistantships), and (c) Borrowed money (federal student loans, other loans).

4. Sign

Upon acceptance of a financial aid offer, the student is required to sign a Master Promissory Note or MPN. The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal instrument in which the student pledges to repay the U. S. Department of Education for their loan(s) as well as any accrued interest and fees. It also explains the loan’s terms and restrictions. A student may receive more than one loan under one MPN.

5. Complete

To collect the loan money, a student must finally complete Entrance Counseling and send the certificate to the college of their choice. The entrance counseling is an excellent way to learn all about what to do next and have frequently asked questions such as “how is interest calculated?”, “what repayment choices are available?”, “how to prevent delay and default”, etc., answered by experts. The student’s rights and obligations, as well as their understanding of the terms and circumstances of the loan, are also addressed in this session.

Note: Given the Covid-19 pandemic, students are advised to check the official FAFSA website for any changes, temporary or permanent, to the entire FAFSA 2024 application process.

Faqs About FAFSA
Student Aid

How to get FAFSA?

This FAFSA form can be found on the official Federal Student Aid, managed by the U.S. Department of Education, here. There are also guides available that can help students fill out their FAFSA applications. These guides are available at the financial aid office of each school that students are interested in attending.

Do you have to pay for FAFSA applications?

What is the FAFSA Student Aid?

Is student aid a loan?

How To Apply For Federal Student Loans?

Who Is Eligible To Apply For Federal Student Aid?

How Do I Fill Out The FAFSA Student Aid?

How Do I Apply For A FAFSA Student Loan?

What Are The Advantages Of Filling Out A FAFSA Student Loan?

What Are The Disadvantages Of Filling Out A FAFSA Student Loan?

How Do I Get My Student Aid?

Do I Have To Complete The FAFSA Student Loan Each Year?

Is It Okay To Fill Out The FAFSA Student Loan With My Parents’ Information If I Am Unsure What My Personal
Information Is?

I Received My Student Aid Report, And Now I Want To Request A Reconsideration Of My Student Aid. Where Do I Go?

Can I Calculate My Own Student Aid?

Is FAFSA Federal Student Aid Available To Non-U.S. Citizens And Students?

If I Receive Other Scholarships Or Grants, Will That Affect My Eligibility For The FAFSA Student Loan?

What Is An Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Can I Include Myself Or My Parents’ Household Size On The FAFSA?

Why Do I Have To Update My FAFSA Each Year?

Do I Have To Be Enrolled Half-Time Or Full-Time To Qualify For The FAFSA Student Loan?

Is Federal Student Aid Free?

What Are The FAFSA 2024 Deadlines?

Additional Resources about FAFSA
Student Aid

Obtaining financial assistance can be a difficult process. Adding to the difficulty are the hundreds of websites that claim to give scholarships and awards via FAFSA Student Aid, the vast majority of which ultimately turn out to be fraudulent. For students to utilize and find information on a FAFSA Graduate School, as well as other funding options for college education, here are some genuinely useful resources to use:


The official FAFSA website is the most obvious and natural place to go for accurate and up-to-date information on FAFSA. The FAFSA form must be filled out and submitted through this portal, which covers all information to FAFSA-related to financial aid and assistance.


‘PHeaa’ is perhaps the most comprehensive resource for students looking for financial help through the FAFSA. The site provides in-depth information on practically every aspect of the FAFSA application process, as well as a good toolkit that can be quite beneficial to students.

If students ever find the need to explore beyond FAFSA, there are a few alternative options to examine. After all, there are other methods to get scholarships, grants, and loans, and some of the websites listed below will allow students to investigate different funding options:


Scholarships.com is a scholarship directory that any student seeking financial aid should visit. Students can use the portal to look for and learn about scholarships available across the United States, as well as apply for some of them directly.

Financial Aid Appeal Guide

Through the Financial Aid Appeal Guide, students can learn what they can do if their FAFSA is refused or if they receive a lower award or require some corrections to be made.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is mainly concerned with student financial matters. It includes information on everything from private student loans to credit cards and savings, as well as scholarships and debt repayment choices.


The Unigo website has a comprehensive list of scholarships, replete with descriptions, grant amounts, deadlines, and application requirements.


Fastweb assists students with a variety of resources, including scholarships, internships, loans, part-time jobs, and more. There are also some intriguing articles to read on a variety of themes.