Applying for need-based financial aid to afford the cost of college?
If you are planning to apply for need-based financial aid to afford the cost of college, here are some helpful tips to get you through this process. Priority financial aid application deadlines are generally in February or March. Go to each college’s financial aid website for instructions on what documents they require to be considered for aid. Most schools will require the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from US Citizens and Permanent Residents requesting financial aid.
Basic FAFSA Instructions:
- Students* and parents can use their prior year 2018 taxes to complete the FAFSA. Financial aid applications for students enrolling in college in the 2020-2021 academic year will be based on 2018 tax information.
- Create your FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. Students AND parents need a FSA ID to securely complete and sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically.
- Complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA beginning on October 1, 2019 at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/index.htm. You will need both student* and parent 2018 tax information.
•The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you to import your tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA electronically. Most colleges prefer (and some require) that you use this tool when filling out the FAFSA.
Some schools will require the 2020-2021 CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (found at http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile). The PROFILE is a financial aid application that many private and some public colleges use. This document will ask you for 2018 financial information. The College Board charges a fee to send the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to schools. You may find a list of institutions that require the PROFILE on the above website; however, we recommend you go to each college’s financial aid website for document requirements and deadlines.
Some schools have their own financial aid application documents for you to submit. Be sure to check with each school to which you are applying.
If you have any additional questions about financial aid, FinAid.org
is a great resource. Of course, you’re always welcome to contact us as well!