Applying for the FAFSA
FAFSA season is in full swing! Whether you’re a college student, a high school senior or you’re seeking financial aid for your child, it’s time to fill out those financial aid forms. The rules and deadlines can be confusing, but we’re here to help! Check out our top tips about completing the FASFA.
When is my application due?
There are three financial aid deadlines to know: federal, college and state. The federal FAFSA submission has a set deadline, while each college and state set their separate deadline. It is smart to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible as some aid is given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The 2021–22 FAFSA form became available on Oct. 1, 2020. This form is for the 2021–22 award year, which runs from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. Online applications for this form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2022. You can look up the 2021-22 deadlines for your state using this link: State deadlines 2021-22. We suggest reaching out to each college you are interested in attending to make sure you know their specific deadline. Your college must have your correct, complete information by your last day of enrollment in the 2021-2022 school year.
You can still submit an application for the 2020–21 FAFSA form, which must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on June 30, 2021.
Who is eligible for FAFSA?
To qualify for FAFSA you must:
- Demonstrate financial need.
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
- Be registered with Selective Service, if you’re a male.
- Be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program.
- Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent.
You can view the full list of the FAFSA eligibility requirements here. Keep in mind that even if you do not think you qualify, you should still apply as many colleges require it for non-need-based scholarships and grants.
How do I apply for FAFSA?
If you love the convenience of the Northern mobile app you will be happy to hear that you can now apply for FAFSA using the free myStudentAid app available on the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). If you use the app with an Apple device, be sure to disable the “smart punctuation” feature before filling out the form.
You can also apply for FAFSA online at FAFSA.ed.gov.
It’s not recommended that you apply for FAFSA via postal mail since online applications are processed quicker and generally have fewer errors. To avoid errors, read every question carefully and review your application before submitting, whether you use the App or apply online or through the mail.
What information do I need to apply for FAFSA?
To apply for FAFSA you’ll need:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned.
- You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
- An FSA ID to sign electronically.
If you’re a dependent student, you’ll also need most of the above information for your parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
Can I apply for the FAFSA as an independent student?
If your parents aren’t paying for any part of your college tuition, you may be eligible to apply for FAFSA as an independent student. You’ll need to meet one of their requirements, such as being 24 years or older, an orphan, a veteran of the Armed Forces or legally married. You can view the full list of the FAFSA independence requirements here.