Follow these steps to apply for federal financial aid and scholarships:


Step 1: Create an FSA ID.

The FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) is a username and password that you’ll need for the FAFSA and to apply for federal student loans. Create your FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov. You will need an email address to create an FSA ID.

Step 2:  Complete the FAFSA. 

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is your application for federal, state, and college-based financial aid.  Complete the form at fafsa.gov. The college(s) you list on the application will receive the results and will use that information to award financial aid.

  • Apply on or after October 1, but before the college’s’ priority date to get the best financial aid package.
  • Renew the FAFSA every year you’re in college.
  • Use our FAFSA Tools to make completing the FAFSA easier.

Step 3: Expect a SAR.

You’ll receive the SAR (Student Aid Report) via an email link 3-5 days after you submit the FAFSA. The SAR acknowledges that your FAFSA was received — and if you need to take further action to process your FAFSA.

Step 4: Watch for a Verification Request.

The college(s) might request verification of your FAFSA information. If so, send the required documents to the college financial aid office.

Step 5: Expect an Award Notification.

Expect a financial aid award notification from the college(s) you listed on the FAFSA — if you were accepted for admission. It will detail the assistance they’re offering based on your FAFSA results. Respond to all award notifications by the deadlines.

Review the financial aid award(s) to determine what you would need to spend out-of-pocket or borrow in student loans to cover the full cost of your education.

Step 6: Apply for Student Loans.

If you need student loans, your college will direct you to StudentLoans.gov to complete the necessary forms. Allow several weeks processing time.

Step 7: Apply for Scholarships.

Ask the college you plan to attend if they have scholarships for adult learners. Also, check out ScholarshipQuest for Nebraska-based awards.