Federal Student Aid
Access application at studentaid.gov.
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is used to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution. The results of the FAFSA are used in determining student grants, work study, and loan amounts.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ®) is the first step toward getting federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school. We provide more than $150 billion in grants, work-study funds, and loans each year, but you have to complete the FAFSA to see if you can get any of that money.
The application is important to determine what federal money will be available to students at two-year and four-year colleges and technical schools.
Completing the form as soon as possible is recommended by the U.S. Department of Education, because financial aid is limited. Students completing the form early will get the first shot at grants, scholarships and loans, according to information from the department.
Students applying for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship must complete both the online state aid application and the federal application, even though the scholarship program does not have a maximum income to eligibility, according form the Higher Education Department.
2020-2021 FAFSA - Full Walk-through
2 Easy Steps
- Go to FSAID to get a FSA - ID (electronic signature) - you will need one for the student and one for a parent
- Once you have your FSA-ID's, go to www.studentaid.gov to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
- In order to get your FAFSA information sent to the schools you are interested in, be sure to use this site to look up your college of choices Federal School Code: fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/schoolSearch
- NEED HELP? Benefits Data Trust in partnership with CollegeBoard is offering a FREE chatbox to help you walk through the process. CLICK HERE for more details!
Financial Aid Terms
- Cost of Attendance (COA) - The average cost to attend a school for one academic year. This number includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. The number will vary from school to school.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - A number based upon your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits as well as the size of your family and the number of family members who will be attending college or career school during the academic school year.
- IRS Data Retrieval Tool - An option on the FAFSA that will pull your tax information onto the application if you have e-filed your taxes.
- Student Aid Report - This report will include some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid such as your Expected Family Contribution.
- Verification - This is when the college you will attend requires that you turn in additional documentation to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate.