Parents and students who are new to the Federal Financial Aid process may appreciate a bit of help to navigate through the studentaid.gov website. For all things Federal Financial Aid (filing the FAFSA, completing loan paperwork, keeping track of your loan balances, and more) you are going to be using this website.
Let’s walk through studentaid.gov to help you become more comfortable with it.
Home page tabs
On the student aid homepage, there are four large tabs that provide quick links to some of the more popular topics and forms. You can use these tabs and links, or you can log into your account to get started.
You will see a green owl in the lower right-hand side of each page. This is Aiden, your virtual assistant. You may type questions in for Aiden to answer and he will also suggest information that may pertain to your topic. Give him a try!
Logging-In or Creating an account
If you already have an existing Federal Student Aid account, click Log-In, enter your username & password, click Accept and proceed.
If you’re new to the site, click on Create Account, then Get Started, and follow the prompts to initially set up your FSA account. You’ll be asked to select and answer four challenge questions. Choose questions with responses that won’t change over time.
Verify your e-mail address and cell phone number, and then write down your username & password and keep them in a safe place for future use.
If you are considered a dependent student, both you and one parent will each have to create a Federal Student Aid account.
Once you’re logged into Federal Student Aid, you’ll navigate through the website by using the upper toolbar features as highlighted below.
- Understanding Aid
You’ll find information about How Financial Aid Works, the Types of Financial Aid, and Financial Aid Eligibility. Browse through this information to become more knowledgeable about the various Financial Aid terms and requirements.
- Apply for Aid
This is where you’ll go to complete the FAFSA, view a list of the items needed for the FAFSA, and making FAFSA corrections. Also in this section, parents and graduate students will find forms needed to apply for PLUS or Grad PLUS loans.
- Complete Aid Process
If you plan to borrow undergraduate, graduate, or parent PLUS loans, you’ll have to complete a Master Promissory Note. First-time student borrowers will also have to complete Entrance Loan Counseling (found in this section). For those going into the education field, you will also find your TEACH grant counseling and agreement forms.
- Manage Loans
Under this section, you’ll find topics related to loans such as loan repayment, a loan simulator, lowering payments, and default and delinquency. If you have any questions pertaining to federal loans, this is the section you’ll need to visit.
Beside Manage Loans, you’ll see a bell icon. If the account holder has any notifications, such as loan disclosure statements, you’ll see a red circle with a number inside of it located over the bell. Click on the bell to open up and view the notification(s). It’s important to review these often for any timely information pertaining to your loan terms or balances.
Personal Account Information and Updating Your Account
Hover over your name to see a dropdown box. This is where all of your personal account information is located.
Dashboard and My Aid will give you information about any grants or loans you’ve received throughout the years, including breakdowns of each type of loans and the name of your servicer.
You can also click on Make a Payment if you wish to begin paying off any federal loans you have borrowed.
My Documents is where you’ll locate any loan paperwork you’ve completed, such as a Master Promissory Note, with the option to print your applications.
Settings is where you’ll go to update any of your personal information for your FSA account (for example: if your last name changes or you’ve changed your cell phone number). It’s easy to update whatever information you need to, but don’t forget to hit Save Changes at the end!
My Enrollment lists the student’s enrollment status at each institution and the date that it became effective.
And finally, to log out of your account, you’ll simply select Log Out.
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