If you are heading to college next fall, you’ll find helpful information about applying for financial aid with this Q&A. Keep on top of the FAFSA process to stay on track for college.Family completing the FAFSA

I need help paying for college, where do I start?

The best place to Start is by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is the only way to receive federal financial aid (Pell Grant, work-study, and student loans) to help pay for college.

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is your application for federal, state, and college-based financial aid. The FAFSA will ask questions about the money situation at home to then calculate one very important number: The Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The EFC is a result (like an index score) that helps the college determine the amount and types of federal money they can award to you – and if you qualify for any need-based money (such as grants).

When should I complete the FAFSA?

Complete the FAFSA after October 1 of your senior year. Ideally, you’ll file your application sometime in October or November.  You can list multiple colleges to receive your FAFSA information.

Do I complete it once, or do I need to fill it out every year?

You will need to fill it out every year (every October or November) to renew your eligibility for more financial aid for the following school year.  So yes, the fun continues!

Who can submit a FAFSA?

The student must be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident, or other select statuses (view this link for other non-citizen statuses). If a student does not have a permanent status, or is undocumented, they will not be eligible to submit a FAFSA, nor can they qualify for Pell Grant or federal student loans (if that is the case, talk with EducationQuest to learn more about having a successful scholarship process!).

Other requirements for FAFSA: student must have a high school diploma, a GED, or be set to graduate (high school senior).

What information is needed to complete a FAFSA?

The FAFSA requires both student AND parent income and assets (unless the student meets the requirements to be Independent on the FAFSA). Learn more about what information is necessary by clicking on the FAFSA Checklist.

What is the FSA ID? Do I need one?

The FSA ID is a username and password that is used to access and then electronically sign the FAFSA application. Each student needs to create their own FSA ID username and password. Also, one parent will need a separate username and password to be able to sign their child’s FAFSA. Learn how to create an FSA ID by watching this  video here .

Where can I find additional information or assistance with the FAFSA?

There are a number of resources to help you with this process: