College students need to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing your financial aid, including work study, federal loans and grants from your state or college.
What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the gold standard for determining your eligibility for financial aid, money to help you pay for college. The easiest way to file the FAFSA is online at FAFSA.gov. FAFSA.gov also provides a printer-friendly PDF if you prefer to mail your FAFSA.
After filing your FAFSA, your college will be able to tell you which scholarships and grants you could receive as well as how much money you can borrow in federal loans such as the Parent PLUS loan.
Who should file the FAFSA?
Anyone who will be in college the following fall should file the FAFSA. You should file the FAFSA even if you’re not sure if you will enroll, or if you are currently in college. If you fail to file, you could lose scholarships and other financial aid you currently have.
What’s the deadline?
You should file the FAFSA by March 10. The form is available January 1.
Check with your college to make sure they don’t have an earlier deadline. Some colleges also have additional financial aid paperwork, so make sure you aren’t missing anything important.
What do I need to file the FAFSA?
If you are under 23, you will need your parents’ information as well as yours. The information you will need for the FAFSA includes:
- Your Social Security number (can be found on a Social Security card)\
- Your driver’s license number (if you have a driver’s license)
- Your and/or your parents’ most recent federal tax returns (IRS forms 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A)
- Records of money earned, including W-2 forms and recent bank statements
- Alien registration numbers or permanent residence cards, if you or your parents are not U.S. citizens
Where can I get help?
Each year, Learn More Indiana hosts the Cash for College campaign to help students save and pay for college. Find FAFSA tips and information on FAFSA-related events at CashForCollegeIndiana.org.
You can also find a College Goal Sunday location near you at CollegeGoalSunday.org. College Goal Sunday occurs each February to provide one-on-one FAFSA assistance at locations across the state.
What happens after I file my FAFSA?
You can read about the financial aid process here.
What if I lose my PIN?
Everyone who files the FAFSA receives a PIN, or personal identification number. If you lose your PIN you should request a duplicate at FAFSA.gov.