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Application For FAFSA – What You Should Know About It In 2022?

application for fafsa

FAFSA is the form you must complete in order to get federal financial aid to help pay for education. The US Department of Education awards about $120 billion in scholarships, and low-interest and work-study loans to over 13 million students who submit the application for FAFSA each year.

Many states and universities also utilize the FAFSA to decide whether students will get financial help and how much they will receive. Because the FAFSA requests information about your family’s and your finances, tax returns, etc., you’ll need the assistance of your parents to complete it.

Every college-bound student and their parents should understand how the application for FAFSA works. Some people may ignore the idea of applying for college financial aid because they believe they make too much money to qualify. However, regardless of their family income, students may be eligible for financial support, such as federal, private, and school-based aid, as well as merit-based scholarships. 

1. Application for FAFSA

The FAFSA’s principal function is to calculate how much financial help a student is eligible for, including need-based and non-need-based aid. It ensures eligibility for federal need-based grants such as 

The FAFSA asks a series of questions regarding the parents’ and students’ income and assets, as well as other criteria such as the number of children in the family, to evaluate a family’s financial need. It then calculates an Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The FAFSA is the official form that students and their families use to apply for federal financial aid for college. The information submitted in the application for FAFSA is also used by states, particular institutions and universities, and private scholarship programs. The information you provide on the FAFSA determines whether you are eligible for need-based, non-need-based, or a mix of the two.

If you aren’t ready to fill out the FAFSA, you may use the Department of Education’s Federal Student Help Estimator to receive an estimate of your EFC and chance of getting financial aid.

2.  How do I start my FAFSA application?

You don’t have to wait for the most recent FAFSA to begin. To put it simply:

Make your FSA ID. Your Federal Student Aid ID is a login and password that you will use to complete and sign your FAFSA electronically. This login will be used for all of your federal assistance obligations, including signing loan documents and renewing your FAFSA each year. If you are a dependent student—or if your parents continue to claim you on their tax returns—at least one parent must also obtain an FSA ID.

Collect all essential documentation. To complete the FAFSA, you’ll need a few crucial papers, including:

  • Social Security numbers (yours and, if you are a dependent student, your parents’)
  • Alien Registration Number or Driver’s License Number
  • Information about tax returns, such as W-2 forms, IRS 1040 or IRS 1040NR forms, or international tax returns for non-residents. The FAFSA considers tax information from the previous two years; for example, the 2022-23 FAFSA seeks 2020 tax data.
  • Untaxed income, such as child support, interest income, and veteran benefits
  • Investment data, such as checking and savings account balances, investment account balances, and other assets

Make a list of possible schools. When you fill out the FAFSA, you must provide information about your institution or university. Even if you haven’t made up your mind, you must mention the schools to which you want to apply. 

You can add up to ten schools, and you can update your school list at any time. Consider the order in which you list the schools as well. Some state aid requires you to identify your schools in a certain sequence; check the Federal Student Aid website for your state’s requirements.

2.1 Let’s get into more details:

application for fafsa

Before completing the FAFSA, the first step is to create an FSA ID, which acts as an electronic signature. Parents and students can receive an FSA ID by visiting the Federal Student Aid website. Applicants will require their Social Security number, date of birth, and name as it appears on official papers to produce a unique ID.

To sign the FAFSA online and utilize the myStudentAid mobile app, you must have an FSA ID. Because applicants are not permitted to establish IDs on behalf of others, parents and students will need to create their own. An FSA ID cannot be created by a parent who does not have a Social Security number. 

A student can insert all zeros where it asks for the parent’s Social Security number on the online application for FAFSA form and then pick the option to print a signature page at the conclusion of the application for FAFSA.

Fill in the blanks with student and parent information

To apply for financial assistance through the FAFSA, students must provide information about their citizenship and marital status, legal residency, Social Security number, and the number of persons living in their home. The same information will be required from parents.

Applicants must also name at least one school to which they want to apply or have already applied in order for the school to get their information. Students can pick up to ten institutions on the online form, but the PDF version only allows for four.

Enter Your Financial Details

The FAFSA employs tax information from the “previous preceding year” – that is, validated tax returns from two years ago. For example, a family filing the FAFSA for the 2022-2023 school year will utilize the 2020 tax return. Using validated tax returns from the previous year eliminates the need to utilize estimations on the form. 

Students and parents will be expected to reveal their income and child support payments, as well as whether they received federal program assistance like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and free or reduced-price school lunch while filling out the form.

Examine and Submit Your FAFSA

To properly complete the FAFSA, students, and parents, if filing as dependents, must sign the form — either online using their FSA ID or by hand on the print version.

2.2 How long does it take to fill out the FAFSA?

Most people take around an hour to complete the application for FAFSA. However, the better prepared you are ahead of time, the faster you will be able to finish. If you are renewing your FAFSA, it should not take as long as someone who is filling it out for the first time.

Before you can complete the FAFSA, you’ll need to gather several papers, including tax returns from both you and your parents, Social Security numbers, your FSA ID, and more.

The sooner you finish your application for FAFSA, the more financial help you may be eligible for—some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Every year, the FAFSA is available beginning on October 1 and should be submitted as soon as possible after that date.

2.3 Is FAFSA application free?

The application for FAFSA is basically a free online application for college financial aid. Schools utilize it to assemble your federal student assistance package for one year of college. This bundle may contain 

  • college scholarships
  • work-study programs
  • federal student loans
  • and even school financial help

While financial aid is not the same as student loans, to apply for a federal student loan, you must first complete the FAFSA form. Completing the FAFSA online is straightforward, and it can help you get financial aid faster. 

2.4 Can I apply for FAFSA right now?

When is FAFSA due for fall 2022? You might ask. The answer is October 1st. Each year on the 1st of October, the application for FAFSA season begins. Submit your FAFSA as close to Oct. 1 as possible to enhance your chances of obtaining the most grant, scholarship, and work-study assistance. Applications for the 2022-23 academic year will be accepted beginning October 1, 2021. The school year 2023-24 begins on October 1, 2022.

When you apply for the 2023-2024 calendar, you may notice certain changes in the application for FAFSA.

3. What to do after submitting your FAFSA

You may check the status of your application for FAFSA online at or on the myStudentAid app. In general, it takes 3-5 days to process your application for FAFSA. 

However, it might take a little longer if you send your paperwork via mail. You don’t need to do anything further if your application for FAFSA is marked “Processed Successfully.” You may possibly discover that more action is necessary, in which case you should contact your school.

Examine your SAR, which should arrive three to three weeks after you file your FAFSA. If you find any mistakes, be sure to fix them as quickly as possible (online or by mail). This report includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and other statistics, but it does not include particular grants from individual universities.

The schools to which you applied on your FAFSA will send you an award letter advising you of your assistance eligibility. The timing of these letters is determined by the college. Finally, while picking which institution to attend, you will compare offers. You may even be able to leverage and negotiate offers in some circumstances.

4. Upcoming changes to the FAFSA

application for fafsa

Because of the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act, the FAFSA for the 2023-24 school year will appear slightly different than in past years. Here are several changes to bear in mind for the FAFSA, which will be available on October 1, 2022.

4.1 There will be fewer questions on the FAFSA

Legislators are lowering the number of questions on the FAFSA in an effort to simplify it and make it more accessible to students and their families. This form may ask 36 questions rather than 108.

Furthermore, families may not need to use the IRS Data Retrieval service to upload their financial data. Instead, wherever feasible, this information will be immediately loaded into the FAFSA from their tax return.

4.2 Expected Family Contribution will be renamed.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has long been a muddled phrase, hence it will shortly be renamed the Student Aid Index (SAI). The SAI reveals your financial need rather than how much your family is likely to spend for college.

In the future, a student’s Student Aid Index may be negative, which will assist schools in determining which students have the highest financial need.

4.3 More students may become eligible for Pell Grants (and amounts may increase) 

The Pell Award is a government grant given to students who have proved the greatest financial need. Pell Grant eligibility will be expanded to an estimated 1.7 million more students under the new Consolidated Appropriations Act.

4.4 During a national emergency, schools may consider unemployment.

Because the COVID-19 outbreak caused so many job losses, the new statute makes it simpler for schools to include unemployment when determining a student’s financial aid eligibility. Institutions, in particular, might reassess a student’s eligibility for aid based on any unemployment benefits obtained by their family during the national emergency.

If you believe you may be qualified for further financial assistance, contact your school’s financial aid office to explore your circumstances.

5. FAFSA Deadline

Every year, on October 1st, the Free Application for FAFSA becomes available. Although the federal deadline is June of the following year, states and schools have far earlier deadlines. Rather than waiting until a FAFSA deadline approaches, it is best to file this vital form as near to Oct. 1 as feasible.

Basically, each year on October 1st, the application to file your FAFSA starts and closes on June 30th.

That gives you a total of 9 months to complete your papers, application, and get everything else in place to finish before the deadline.

It is also crucial to remember that you must reapply for FAFSA every year, so mark your calendar now, so you don’t forget!

If you apply early, you will not only meet all of the FAFSA deadlines, but you may also receive additional financial help as a college student.

5.1 What is the FAFSA deadline for fall 2022?

The FAFSA for the school year 2022-23 is due on June 30, 2022. Corrections must be received before September 11, 2023. Even if you wait until June 30, you can get these loans and grants to cover the autumn and spring semesters. Alternatively, depending on your institution, you may be able to use the cash to pay for summer school in 2022.

5.2 When should I fill out my FAFSA for 2022-2023?

application for fafsa

Each year, the federal deadline is your final chance to submit the application for FAFSA. In case you want financial assistance for the 2022-23 academic year, you must submit the form by June 30, 2023.

Work-study funds and the majority of state and institutional help will be the first to run out, but there will still be time to apply for federal grants and student loans.

5.3 What happens if I miss FAFSA deadline?

There are no valid reasons for students to miss the FAFSA deadline 2022. FAFSA allows students adequate time to complete and submit their applications. If you need financial help for college, filling out, the FAFSA should be at the top of your priority list. You only need to file the FAFSA once every academic year, so make a note to remember to do so each January.

So, what if you miss the FAFSA deadline for any reason? To begin, there are two major FAFSA deadlines to be aware of: one for federal financial help and one for state financial aid. Find out when the state financial help deadline is by contacting your state’s education office.

Even though the FAFSA deadline has passed, you must still complete and submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. After all on-time filers have been approved, any FAFSA applications submitted after the processing deadline will be considered for funding.

If you miss the FAFSA or state financial aid deadlines, you should contact your college’s financial aid office as soon as possible. You may still be able to apply for financial help and merit scholarships if it is not too late. Here are some pointers to consider before filing an appeal, as well as an example appeal letter.

However, if you have exhausted all of your alternatives throughout your college career, you have three basic possibilities:

  • Scholarships
  • Year off
  • Financing alternatives

6. What is the minimum income to qualify for FAFSA?

There are no explicit FAFSA income restrictions or standards that you must meet to be eligible for federal student aid. Even if your family has a high income, you should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Help each year to discover what sorts of aid are available to you.

Financial aid is complicated, and it is calculated using a number of parameters. Students must complete the FAFSA in order to apply for federal student aid. The FAFSA is free to complete and submit, and it qualifies you for federal, state, and college-specific financial help.

7. Do you have to pay back FAFSA?

You may be required to pay back some money depending on the sort of financial help you qualify for by completing the FAFSA. Before taking any financial help, be sure you understand if you would have to repay it and when.

Read More: 

The FAFSA allows you to apply for four types of student loans:

  • Subsidized Direct loans: For undergraduate students with financial needs. These loans do not accrue interest while you are enrolled in school.
  • Unsubsidized direct loans: Available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students regardless of financial need. While you’re at school, the interest on these debts accumulates.
  • Direct PLUS loans are available to graduate and professional students, as well as parents of undergraduate students.
  • Direct consolidation loans are available to anybody who borrows government funds. These allow you to consolidate numerous student loan debts into a single loan.

The distinctions between these loan kinds are significant since they have varying payback terms. We’ll get to those eventually.

While federal student loans are the only ones whose eligibility is determined by the FAFSA, private student loans should not be overlooked.

Private student loans, like federal student loans, must be returned at some point. However, because the lender is a private financial institution rather than the federal government, the payback conditions will change.

8. What FAFSA do you not have to pay back?

  • Grants: Typically granted based on extraordinary financial need or membership in a specific organization. There are two government scholarships available for students with extreme financial need: one for students who commit to teaching at a low-income school for four years and another for students whose parent or guardian died while serving in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan Learn more about the many sorts of federal grants available here.
  • Scholarships are frequently awarded based on academic accomplishment, athletic talent, or other achievements. Scholarships are accessible through your school, and the amount of money available is determined by the institution.
  • Work-study: Often awarded dependent on when you apply, your level of financial need, and the quantity of money available at your institution. Work-study is a sort of financial assistance that offers students with financial needs with part-time jobs such as library receptionists and research assistants to earn money for academic expenditures.
  • If you still want “free money” to pay for college, private scholarships and grants can help bridge the gap — and you won’t have to repay any of it. Keep in mind, however, that private scholarships and grants are extremely competitive, and your school may cut the amount of help you receive by the value of the private scholarship or grant.

9. Tips for improving eligibility

application for fafsa

The Free Application for Federal Student Help, or FAFSA, is the first step in obtaining financial aid for your higher education. The type and amount of financial help you get may be determined by how you complete the FAFSA. While you deal with educational expenses, in order to get the most out of your savings, use the following advice:

9.1 Fill out the FAFSA early

It is essential to submit the application for FAFSA as soon as possible. Incoming students are well aware that the FAFSA must be submitted by October 1 to avoid missing state and college assistance deadlines. 

More than a dozen states make awards on a first-come, first-served basis. Certain institutions have early application deadlines, and federal student funding may run out if other candidates have already secured it.

Furthermore, it has been said that students who complete the application for FAFSA sooner may be eligible for higher financial help. Students who apply for financial help in October are likely to receive twice as much grant money as those who apply later in the year. Submit your FAFSA early in October to enhance your assistance eligibility.

9.2 Examine your deadlines

There are three sorts of college applications: Early Decision, Regular Decision, and Early Action. There will be deadlines for financial aid from institutions, the state, and the federal government, as well as deadlines for scholarships. Maintain your time management abilities so that you may do everything on time and in an orderly manner.

9.3 Double-check your application

“Haste creates waste,” as the proverb goes, and this is especially true when filling out the application for FAFSA. Errors are likely to cause delays as universities strive to get precise information, which may reduce your chances and options for student loan debt forgiveness

Please keep in mind the distinctions between sections for students and parents, use the names on your Social Security cards, and double-check the Social Security numbers you submit. When there are errors in a paper, it may be really distressing.

10. Conclusion

Families will benefit from completing the application for FAFSA regardless of how much money they make or how much wealth they have amassed. Even if you do not qualify for free money in the form of grants and scholarships, you can still obtain non-need-based aid from the federal government. A government student loan has more advantageous payback conditions than private loans and varies in interest rate.