Figure Out The FAFSA
THE NEW AND IMPROVED FAFSA
The FAFSA is easier than ever before! Beginning in Fall 2016:
- The FAFSA will be available on October 1 of the year before a student hopes to enter college (instead of January 1 of the same year)
- Starting with students applying to college in the 2017–18 academic year, the FAFSA will require income information from the tax year two years prior to the academic year. (previously it required the tax returns from the previous year) Learn more about the 2017–18 FAFSA
- A new tool allows the IRS to automatically pull in information from tax returns into the FAFSA, saving time and frustration
Click here to find out more about what these changes mean to you. Then check out the sections below to understand better what the FAFSA is all about.
WHAT is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the application students use to apply for grants and loans from the federal government to help pay for college. Many states and colleges also use your FAFSA application to determine whether or not you are eligible other financial aid from the state or the school you will attend.
WHY is it important?
Completing and submitting a FAFSA is the single most important thing you can do to get assistance paying for college - it gives you access to getting your share of more than $150 billion dollars in grants, loans and work study programs from the federal government! If you think you won’t quality for aid because of how much money your parents make, your grades, your age or another reason – think again! Lots of myths about financial aid that simply aren't true!
To better understand college costs and the aid that could be available to you and your family, check out the two tools below from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority .
- Getting the Facts report is a free college planning tool that gives students and families a personalized breakdown of college costs and estimated financial aid.
- FAFSA4caster lets you safely enter your personal information before you will out the FAFSA to get an estimate of how much and what types of aid you may qualify to receive through
WHO is it for?
Every U.S. citizen and person with an alien registration number is eligible to fill out the FAFSA. For more details, check out the basic eligibility criteria.
WHEN does it happen?
High schools students who plan to attend college immediately after they graduate complete the FAFSA during their senior year. Recent changes by the federal government allows more time for students to fill out the FAFSA.
- For the 2015–16 year, you can apply between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016.
- For the 2016–17 year, you can apply between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.
- For the 2017–18 year, you can apply between Oct. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018.
Keep in mind there are a few federal and state student aid programs that have limited funds, so be sure to apply as soon as you can once the FAFSA is available for the year you’ll be attending school! Click here to find out more about FAFSA deadlines.
HOW do I do it?
First, take a look at the whole process beginning to end so you and your family understand what to expect. Then visit the Office of Federal Student Aid website which includes tools and resources to help you:
- Create your FSA ID (required to access and complete the FAFSA)
- Gather the documents you'll need
- Find help and instructions for filling out the form
- Get started filling out your FAFSA
- Understand what happens next and what future action is required from you
WHERE can I find more information?
- Office of Federal Student Aid FAFSA page for students and parents - tons of great tools and resources including checklists, videos, FAQ's and more to help students and parents
- Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority – All About FAFSA
- GEAR UP Kentucky’s YouTube playlist: All About FAFSA