Free Application for Federal Student Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application that is prepared annually by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for financial aid as determined by parent and student income information. Although you may feel that you do not qualify for financial aid, many grants, scholarships, and most colleges/universities require the FAFSA to be completed.
All seniors are highly encouraged to apply for the FAFSA beginning October 1st of their senior year. See the Deadlines section below for the dates.
- There is no cost to complete the FAFSA!
- There are companies that will charge you a fee to file your FAFSA, but you can always complete the FAFSA for free on the official government website: fafsa.gov.
- Some states, colleges, and universities have their own deadlines to receive FAFSA information for additional, nonfederal aid. Check your college’s website or talk to the financial aid office to see when you must complete the FAFSA to meet these deadlines.
Example for the 2022-2023 Academic School Year: The FAFSA form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2023. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on September 10, 2023.
Each college may have its own deadline. Check with the college(s) you’re interested in attending. You may also want to ask your college about its definition of an application deadline. Is it the date your FAFSA form is processed or the date the college receives your processed FAFSA data?
Florida: May 15, 2022 for the 2022-2023 School Year
Filling out the FAFSA:
- Go to the official government website to fill out the FAFSA.
- Need help filling out your FAFSA?
- What’s an FSA ID?
The FSA ID is a username and password combination you use to log in to U.S. Department of Education (ED) online systems. The FSA ID is your legal signature and shouldn’t be created or used by anyone other than you—not even your parent, your child, a school official, or a loan company representative. You’ll use your FSA ID every year you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and for the lifetime of your federal student loans.
- How do I get an FSA ID?
Visit the FAFSA website to create an FSA ID. You’ll need your Social Security number, full name, and date of birth. You’ll also need to create a memorable username and password, and complete challenge questions and answers so you can retrieve your account information if you forget it. You’ll be required to provide either your email address or your mobile phone number when you make your FSA ID. Providing a mobile phone number and/or email address that you have access to will make it easier to log in to ED online systems and allow additional account recovery options. Important: A Social Security number, email address, and mobile phone number can only be associated with one FSA ID. If you share an email address with someone else, then only one of you will be able to use that email address to create an FSA ID.
Timeline of FAFSA
- The Department of Education says that online FAFSA applications are typically processed within three to five days, and that paper applications are typically processed within seven to 10 days.
- After their application is processed, students should receive a copy of their Student Aid Report, which includes their Expected Family Contribution and determines their eligibility for Pell Grants. An applicant’s aid report will be shared with the colleges they listed on their FAFSA application.
- After a student has been admitted to a college, colleges use the information on their aid report to determine how much they will provide. Many schools will ask students to verify the information on their aid report, or to complete a College Scholarship Service Profile, which is administered by The College Board. The profile is used by hundreds of schools across the country and can help students access their share of $9 billion in non-federal financial aid.
Timeline for Seniors
- Senior students can begin filing the FAFSA, which is required by most colleges.
- Senior students can complete their Bright Futures Scholarship Application.
- February: Many colleges have priority deadlines this month — urge students to apply by the priority deadline.
- Late February and March: Colleges may call you to ask questions about your students who have special circumstances.
- End of March: Admission notifications are mailed.
- April: Students weigh offers of admission and compare aid awards.
- May 1: Students must tell all colleges whether or not they are attending and make deposits.