FAFSA 2023: All You Need to Know About Free Application for Federal Student Aid

What Is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, is the official form to apply for federal financial aid to pay for college. Every year, more than 13 million students who submit the FAFSA get over $120 billion in grants, work-study jobs, and loans with low-interest rates from the U.S. Department of Education. Many states, colleges, and universities also use the FAFSA to decide how much financial aid they can give you.

FAFSA applications become available in October before the enrollment year and stay open until June of the academic year. The funding is usually given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who apply in June may only qualify for loans rather than grants or other forms of aid.

How Financial Aid Works

For the majority of students who have plans to attend college or a career school, financial aid plays a crucial role. Here is the process of how financial Aid works.

Eligibility to Apply for FAFSA

To be eligible for the FAFSA, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Demonstrated financial need.
  2. Enrollment in a diploma or certificate program at a college or university.
  3. U.S. citizenship or eligibility as a noncitizen.
  4. Possession of a valid Social Security number.
  5. Continued satisfactory academic performance.
  6. Completion of a high school diploma or equivalent.
  7. Meeting any additional criteria set by federal regulations

FAFSA changes 2024-2025

Explore the key updates and revisions to the FAFSA for the 2024-2025 academic year in this comprehensive summary.

  • The changes in the financial aid formula are effective starting with the 2024-2025 FAFSA
  • Reduces the number of questions from 108 to about 36
  • Align more questions on FAFSA with federal income tax returns
  • Automatic transfer of IRS data to the FAFSA
  • Increases aid eligibility for single parents
  • Decreases aid eligibility for middle- and high-income families
    – Shift in focus away from cash flow to a slightly greater emphasis on wealth
  • Reduced likelihood of verification because fewer questions and more data were transferred from the IRS
  • New Federal Pell Grant formula

Filing Options for FAFSA

Students have the following options to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form:

  1. Log in at fafsa.gov to apply online.
  2. Complete a FAFSA PDF (note: you must print out and mail the FAFSA PDF for processing).
  3. To obtain a printed copy of the FAFSA PDF, please contact us at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Once you have the form, simply complete it and send it via mail for processing.

Application Process

Once you complete FAFSA Form, send it via mail to the address on the form for processing.

We recommend filling out the FAFSA online. The online option provides helpful tips that facilitate comprehension of the questions, making it significantly easier to complete and submit the application.

When completing the FAFSA electronically, you will be prompted to create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). To create your FSA ID, you will need the following information:

  1. Social Security number.
  2. Full name.
  3. Date of birth.

Once you have created your FSA ID, you will use it to electronically sign the form. It’s important to note that one of your parents will also need to create an FSA ID in order to sign off on your FAFSA.

FAFSA Application 2024-25

Every year, the FAFSA form for the following academic year is released on October 1. For instance, if you intend to begin college in the fall of 2024, the FAFSA form will be accessible on October 1, 2023. The deadline for submitting the form is June 30, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. CT.

What is the FAFSA deadline?

The FAFSA application begins on October 1 and ends on June 30. This deadline is the same for all states across the United States.

It is important to note that applying early is highly recommended to increase your chances of receiving financial assistance. Since aid is often distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, submitting your FAFSA as soon as possible gives you a better opportunity to secure available funds.

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Contact Federal Student Aid for Assistance

For potential students, currently, enrolled students, loan borrowers, and families, visit the “Contact Us” page on the official Website or contact Federal Student Aid at 1-800-433-3243 or by email at studentaid@ed.gov to be directed to someone who can help you.

What is the income limit for the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not have a specific income limit for eligibility. The FAFSA takes into account various factors beyond income, such as family size, number of family members attending college, and assets, to determine financial need.

This means that even if your income exceeds a certain threshold, you may still be eligible for some form of financial aid. It is recommended to complete and submit the FAFSA regardless of your income level to determine your eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs.

FAFSA student loans

If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer.

To apply for federal student aid, first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Once your FAFSA application is processed, your college or career school will provide you with a financial aid offer, which may encompass federal student loans. Your school will provide instructions on how to accept the offered aid, allowing you to choose whether to accept the entire amount or only a portion of it.

Types of FAFSA Student Loans

Under this program, There are four types of Direct Loans available:

1. Direct Subsidized Loans:

These loans are offered to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need, aiming to assist with the expenses of higher education at a college or career school.

2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans:

These loans are available to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Unlike subsidized loans, they are not based on financial need.

3. Direct PLUS Loans:

These loans are provided to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. They help cover education expenses that are not met by other financial aid. While eligibility is not determined by financial need, a credit check is required. Borrowers with an adverse credit history must meet additional requirements to qualify.

4. Direct Consolidation Loans:

These loans enable borrowers to combine all eligible federal student loans into a single loan, managed by a single loan servicer. This simplifies the repayment process by having only one loan to manage.

What is a FAFSA renewal?

To apply for federal student aid each academic year, it is necessary to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). However, to streamline the process and save time, the FAFSA renewal option is available. The FAFSA renewal allows you to reapply for financial aid without having to fill out the entire application from scratch each year.

Frequently Asked Questions about the FAFSA

1. Can I get financial aid without FAFSA?

Yes. You can get student loans without completing the FAFSA, but those types of loans are through private vendors.

2. How much financial aid can you get?

While it fluctuates yearly, the maximum pell grant a student could receive within the 2022 to 2023 academic year is $6,495.

3. Do I have to complete the FAFSA every year?

Yes, you need to complete the FAFSA every academic year you wish to apply for federal financial aid. Financial circumstances can change from year to year, and the FAFSA must be updated to reflect these changes.

4. Can I use the FAFSA to apply for financial aid for graduate school?

Yes, the FAFSA can be used to apply for federal financial aid for graduate and professional school, in addition to undergraduate programs.