- Gather Materials – You’ll need your social security card, current bank statements and, if you’re a dependent student, your parent(s)’ information. For the 2020-2021 FAFSA, you’ll also need your 2018 W2 and tax return.
- Create an FSA ID – This username and password is used to electronically sign your FAFSA and other important financial aid paperwork. Visit fsaid.ed.gov to sign up and use our FSA ID Worksheet to track all of your responses.
- Fill It Out – The FAFSA is available at FAFSA.gov on October 1 each year. Check out the “Tool Tips” question mark box beside each field for assistance with every question. You can also use the FAFSA mobile app by downloading the ‘myStudentAid’ app to your phone or tablet.
- Sign & Submit – Enter your FSA ID to serve as your electronic signature. Don’t forget to click submit at the bottom of the screen.
- Follow Up – Watch your email for a Student Aid Report (SAR) and information from the schools who’ve received your FAFSA results. Be sure to follow up with the financial aid office at your school if you have additional questions.
For more details, check out the Finish the FAFSA in Five Steps guide or watch the Finish the FAFSA in Five videos on the StartWithFAFSA website, available in both English and Spanish.
The FSA ID is your Federal Student Aid ID. It’s a username and password that you’ll use to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year that you’re seeking financial aid for college.
It’s best to create your FSA ID before you complete your FAFSA. In fact, now is the perfect time for you to create yours since the new FAFSA will be available October 1.
Your FSA ID can also be used to log on to other financial aid websites. It’s your unique electronic signature, so you should never share it with anyone—not even your parents or financial aid personnel at the college you choose to attend. You must create your own FSA ID; parents of dependent students should not create an ID for their children, and vice versa.
We suggest writing down the information you enter as you create your FSA ID. The easiest way to do so is by using the FSA ID worksheet, available in English and Spanish at UCanGo2.org. Once you’ve filled in the worksheet, be sure to store it in a safe place. Consider putting it in the file that contains one or more recent tax returns (yours and/or your parents’) so you will have it handy when the next FAFSA season rolls around.
When we hear the word “free” we’re usually excited, but then we think, “wait a minute – what’s the catch?” We’ve been conditioned to believe that nothing is ever free. Well, that’s not the case with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA really is a free application! There aren’t any gimmicks, conditions, 30-day trial periods or necessary payments. The FAFSA is a free application that helps colleges determine your eligibility for financial aid – money to help cover educational expenses. In order to access this application, you’ll need to log in to FAFSA.gov. This is the official website to submit your FAFSA. Other sites may require you to pay a fee to submit your application, but FAFSA.gov won’t.
What else should you know about this free application? You’ll need a username and a password to log in and sign your FAFSA. You can create your login, also called an FSA ID, at fsaid.ed.gov. There shouldn’t be any fees to create your login, either. Once you submit your application, the colleges that receive your FAFSA can assist you with any concerns you may have about your financial aid eligibility or financial aid offer; be sure to contact them with questions. Don’t fall for scams that state you must pay (anything!) to submit your FAFSA. Remember that no payment is required because the FAFSA is always free!
If you’ve decided to go to college as a nontraditional student or as an adult learner then congratulations! It’s never too late to learn and grow. Now that you’ve made this decision, it’s time to think about financial aid – monetary support that helps cover the costs of college such as grants, student loans and scholarships. You might assume that you won’t qualify for financial assistance because you’re a nontraditional student, but there are various financial resources to help you on your college journey. One resource that you should utilize first is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Regardless of your educational background or age, you should always submit a FAFSA every year that you’re in need of financial aid. The FAFSA allows you to apply for federal and some state financial assistance for college. Your school’s financial aid office will use the information you provide on the application to determine your aid eligibility. They will be able to see if you qualify for grants, work-study and/or student loans. In case you haven’t decided which school you’ll attend, the FAFSA can be sent to up to ten schools at one time. Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA, be sure to contact the financial aid offices if you have any questions.
Whether this is your first time submitting a FAFSA or it’s been a while since you’ve seen the application, here are a few tips to help you successfully complete the form:
Gather your materials – Before you start the application you’ll need to round up a few necessary items: your social security card, tax returns and other financial information. The FAFSA will ask you to provide your income figures as well as your personal identification information. Your W-2s and other bank statements will be helpful with this section of the FAFSA.
Create an FSA ID – An FSA ID (Federal Student Aid Identification) is your username and password for logging into FAFSA.gov. This login will also serve as your electronic signature for completing the FAFSA. It only takes about ten minutes to create an FSA ID. During the process you will be asked to provide your identification information and select a few challenge questions to answer in case you need to reset your ID at a later date. Use this FSA ID Worksheet to help you keep track of your FSA ID information. To create your FSA ID, go to fsaid.ed.gov.
Use the correct website – FAFSA.gov is the official website to access the FAFSA form. You can also find the application by using the myStudentAid mobile app. The first “f” in FAFSA stands for “free”, meaning you should never be charged a fee to submit your FAFSA. Using one of the above options guarantees that you’ll not have to pay to complete your application.
Remember Oct. 1 – The FAFSA opens each year on Oct. 1. You should complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after this date. Some financial aid that you’re eligible to receive may be on a first-come first-serve basis, concluding that funds will be given to those who apply first and will eventually run out after a certain point. Therefore, to ensure that you don’t miss out on any financial aid, complete your application in a timely manner.
You’re about to begin another academic year, full of promise—with maybe just a few challenges thrown in here and there.
Whether you’re a returning college student or just entering college for the first time, you may have questions about how you can cover the costs of college this year. Here are some tips to consider:
- Check your FSA ID status. This is the user name and password that you set up before you filed your first FAFSA, and it serves as your electronic signature. If you haven’t used your FSA ID in a while, it may need to be re-enabled. This can be done at the manage my FSA ID tab at fsaid.ed.gov.
- If you haven’t already, submit your FAFSA! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is still available for academic year 2018-2019. Go to FAFSA.gov to start your application.
- Apply for institutional aid (scholarships that come from your college), and reapply each semester.
- Search for more scholarships. To start, we suggest UCanGo2.org and okcollegestart.org.
Find a part-time job. Many schools participate in the federal work-study program. If you demonstrate financial need, you may be able to work part-time on campus or an approved site off-campus. The money you earn at a work-study job is then used to help you pay your college expenses. If you don’t qualify for work-study or your school doesn’t participate in the WS program, watch for job opportunities posted around your campus and online.
As you begin exploring different forms of financial aid, three terms will stand out: grants, work-study and student loans. These are the three primary forms of aid that the federal government distributes through the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). By completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you’re applying to receive these various types of financial aid for school.
Grants and scholarships, which are given to eligible students to help them pay higher education expenses, are the best form of aid you can receive, as they typically don’t need to be repaid. The Pell Grant is the most notable federal grant; it’s awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need. Students can receive up to $6,095 from the Pell Grant for the 2018-19 school year. The OTAG is awarded to eligible Oklahoma residents enrolled in schools within the state and the FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. Some grants do have obligations attached to them, such as the TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) Grant. This grant is designed to assist students who plan to teach and meet certain requirements for the grant. Not all campuses participate in this program, so students will need to check with their campus about available types of financial aid offered.
Work-Study is the form of federal aid that allows undergraduates to work part-time jobs on or off campus to earn money for school expenses. This program is administered by the school, and like grants, is based on your financial need.
The third type of aid is a federal direct student loan. A student loan is a form of aid the federal government provides to help students bridge the gap between family savings, scholarships and grants, and work study and remaining college costs. Unlike most grants or work-study, this money must be paid back with interest. While federal student loans need to be repaid, the interest accrued is often lower than it would be with a private lender, and federal student loans have more flexible repayment options than private or alternative loans.
The Direct Subsidized Loan program will lend students up to $5,500 annually depending on grade level, financial need and dependency status. The interest rate for subsidized loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 is set at 5.05 percent, and the government will pay your interest costs while you’re attending school at least half time. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to undergraduates (5.05 percent interest rate) and graduate students (6.60 percent interest rate). The government does not pay interest costs during school for unsubsidized loan borrowers, but students may make interest payments while in school to save money. If there is still a balance remaining after using all other available forms of aid, parents of dependent undergraduate students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan. PLUS loan applicants must meet credit requirements, and the interest rate is currently set at 7.60 percent.
If you must accept a student loan to help pay for college, focus on federal loan options, and limit your borrowing to the amount you truly need to pay school expenses. For more information about paying for college, check out UCanGo2.org/pay.
Hey students! If you, and your parent, plan to electronically sign the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you’ll be required to obtain an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID). This ID is essentially a username and password that is used for a variety of purposes in the financial aid world such as:
- Making online corrections to the FAFSA
- Viewing or printing a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR)
- Electronically signing a Master Promissory Note (MPN)
- Completing entrance and exit loan counseling requirements
- Reviewing a history of federal student aid received
The set up process for the FSA ID requires applicants to answer a variety of questions. That’s why our new FSA ID Worksheet –
(FSA ID Worksheet in Spanish) will be a helpful tool in this undertaking. Write down the answers to your questions here and save this form in a safe place! Then if you’ve forgotten your username or password, or possibly an answer to one of your challenge questions, you’ll have the information readily available on your FSA ID Worksheet. The FSA ID Worksheet also comes in Spanish.
Check out the Resources tab here at StartWithFAFSA.org to locate and print a copy of the FSA ID Worksheet. You’ll also find it on UCanGo2.org in the Publications section. To set up your FSA ID, visit https://fsaid.ed.gov
The Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) is used to log in to certain FSA websites, such as FAFSA.gov. It’s comprised of a username and password. If you used a the old PIN system to sign your last FAFSA, you’ll be given directions on how to set up an FSA ID the next time you log in at FAFSA.gov.
Setting up an FSA ID is easy, and it’s strongly recommended that you set it up before you start the FAFSA. Simply visit fsaid.ed.gov, click ‘Create an FSA ID,’ and fill in the requested information.
Here are a few things you need to know:
- If you are a dependent student (see our FAFSA Dependency Questionnaire in the resources section), one of your parents will also need to set up their own FSA ID. Parents will use the same website and follow the same steps.
- Your email address cannot be the same as your parent’s email address on the FAFSA. Make sure you have two separate email addresses before you set up your FSA IDs.
- Because many high schools have firewalls to prevent students from receiving external mail, it’s best not to use an email address that’s been assigned to you by your school.
- If you have any questions about the FSA ID, click ‘Help’ in the top right corner at fsaid.ed.gov. You’ll find a wealth of information there.
Don’t forget to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid!
Applying online is fast, simple and best of all… it’s safe. The online form allows you to rapidly transfer previously filed tax information and has many “helps and hints” along to way to answer any questions that may come to mind. And, you may choose to send your FAFSA results to up to 10 schools that interest you.
Be sure to enter your information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card. When finished, you will sign with your FSA ID. Don’t forget to hit “Submit” when you’ve completed the form!
If you’ve completed the first of the five (fairly fast) FAFSA steps and have gathered materials needed to complete the FAFSA, then you are ready to complete step 2 and create an FSA ID.
“FSA ID” is just a fancy acronym for a username and password. To create an FSA ID, visit fsaid.ed.gov and follow the prompts onscreen. Parents of dependent students will need an FSA ID of their own for the FAFSA, too.
Once you have an FSA ID, save it somewhere safe! You will need your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA online and to access information about other financial aid programs as well.