Every student, including active military and veterans, should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for financial assistance for college. It’s important to gather a few important documents you’ll need before starting your FAFSA application. You’ll also want to create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to log in and sign your FAFSA at https://studentaid.gov/.
As you’re completing the FAFSA you’ll run across three questions related to military benefits. These questions include information about combat pay, housing allowance and noneducational veteran benefits. If you or your family are unsure how to report these benefits on the FAFSA, here are some helpful tips to assist you. You can also click the Tool Tips question mark icon by the application question for further assistance.
- Combat Pay: If the service member receives combat pay and is an enlisted member or a warrant officer, they don’t have to provide this information on their FAFSA and will simply enter a zero for this question. For commissioned officers, combat pay in excess of the highest enlisted person’s pay (plus imminent danger/hostile fire pay) is taxable and it will be coded as taxable income on the W-2.
- Housing Allowance: Reporting a housing allowance is dependent on several factors. If the service member receives a subsidy for on-base military housing or a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), then the member does not need to report the benefit on their FAFSA. Those who receive housing allowances other than those mentioned above will be required to include that information on the FAFSA.
- Noneducational Veteran Benefits: Those who receive the Montgomery GI Bill, Post-9/11 GI Bill, Dependents Education Assistance Program or Vocational Rehabilitation Program do not need to provide this data on their FAFSA. Those who receive other noneducational assistance must, however, report that information. Noneducational veteran benefits can be found on the service member’s monthly VA benefit statement.
Each question on the FAFSA also provides a link for a detailed explanation of what’s being asked. Look for this emblem:
Knowing the types of military benefit information to include on the FAFSA, and gathering the right documents, can make the FAFSA process much easier. For more information about veteran military benefits and the FAFSA, visit MilitaryBenefits.info and the FAFSA Guide for Military Members and Families. StudentAid.gov also has financial aid and scholarship resources for the military at https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/military.