For students who are documented but their guardians are not.

What is it?

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid which is overseen by the federal government and provides financial aid to many individuals who want to pursue a post-secondary education.

Federal Financial aid is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or eligible non-citizens with a valid Social Security Number. You must have (or expect to have) a high school diploma, or GED, and register with Selective Service if you are a male between 18-25 years of age. You are ineligible for federal aid if you have any past federal convictions (including sale or possession of illegal drugs).

After completing a FAFSA application, it is possible to be offered different types of aid such as grants (need-based aid that does not need to be paid back), loans (low-interest and no-interest loans, including Stafford, Perkins, PLUS) and work-study (the government pays your college to pay you for your work).

Who can fill it out?

To qualify for federal aid, students must complete and sign a FAFSA application. In order to complete a FAFSA, you must have a valid social security number (SSN). Additionally, having a SSN will enable you to create an FSA ID (username and password) which is needed to sign the FAFSA electronically.

It is very important to note that a student’s parents’ citizenship status does not affect the student’s eligibility for federal student aid. In fact, the FAFSA does not ever ask

about the parents’ citizenship status.

If the parent(s) do not have a SSN, the FAFSA can still be completed, as the parent will enter 000-00-000 in the parent’s SSN section. If your parent doesn’t have a SSN, then subsequently they will not be able to create an FSA ID and therefore, won’t be able to sign the FAFSA electronically. To still submit the FAFSA and sign it without a parent's FSA ID, the signature page will have to be printed out after completing the FAFSA, signed by the parent(s) and then mailed to the address indicated.

How do I fill it out and when do I fill it out?

If the student is completing the FAFSA form online at fafsa.ed.gov or through the myStudentAid mobile app and the parent(s) and/or student filed their income tax returns with the IRS and certain requirements are met such as having SSNs, then access to the IRS DRT (Data Retrieval Tool) may be available.

With IRS DRT, this means that the parent(s) and students tax information will populate into the FAFSA if the student prefers to do this instead of manually entering in the information.

If the parent(s) and /or student didn’t file income tax returns with the IRS, the information can be entered manually on the FAFSA website or through the myStudentAid mobile app If you are completing the FAFSA form to be sent by mail, follow the instructions that detail how to answer the parental financial information questions.

What else do I need to know about the FAFSA?