FAFSA FAQs

Financial aid is money you and your family can use to help pay for educational expenses. This includes grants, loans, and scholarships.

Start by filling out the free application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA.

The best time to apply is when you complete your tax returns, but no later than April 15.

The FAFSA is the basis for all college financial aid. It determines your eligibility for federal, state, and college financial aid programs including scholarships, grants, and loans.

The list of documents you need can be found here.

Yes. The information you supply can be verified by your school, state, and by Federal Student Aid. You may be asked to provide U.S. income tax return transcripts and, if you can’t or don’t provide these records, you may not get federal student aid.

If you get federal student aid based on incorrect information, you will have to pay it back. You may also have to pay fines and fees. If you purposely give false or misleading information on your application, you may be fined $20,000, sent to prison, or both.

Every academic year you will need to submit the FAFSA application one time.

The academic year begins with the fall term and ends at the end of summer term the following year.

No. When you enroll for classes, it will constitute your acceptance of financial aid.

The Pell Grant is prorated based on your eligibility and the number of credit hours for which you are registered. You can receive a student loan as long as you are enrolled for at least 6 credit hours.

To calculate what you’ll receive, multiply the amount of Pell Grant listed on your award notice by the following percentages.

12+ hours 100%
9-11 hours 75%
6-8 hours 50%
1-5 hours 25%

If the result is less than $295, you are not eligible for Pell assistance.

A loan needs to be paid back and a grant does not.

The interest on a subsidized loan is paid by the Department of Education while the student is in school. An unsubsidized loan accrues interest even while the student is enrolled.

The first step in applying for student loans is to complete your FAFSA. You can learn more about loans on the U.S. government website.