How To Apply for FAFSA: Everything Students Should Know

how to apply for a fafsa loan-wsp
how to apply for a fafsa loan-wsp

Is it too late to apply for FAFSA: Back in college we have friends who will always come up late for so many things. There was this particular day when my friend from nowhere pops the question; is it too late to apply for FAFSA?

I was so shocked; however, we can all agree that Deadlines can be stressful, more so when you are juggling multiple activities all at once. 

As high school seniors, you are always faced with numerous deadlines: papers, scholarships, and college apps.

One of the most important is the FAFSA deadline.

If you miss this one, and you’re definitely missing out on all types of financial aid that can help lower the cost of college.

Thus, are you like my friend asking the strange question “is it too late to apply for FAFSA ?”

Well, if you are like him, then you are in the right place as this article will explain fully How To Apply for FAFSA. Not minding if you are a fresher or a returning student.

That being said, the article will also give you details on how to navigate the FAFSA website and the FAFSA deadlines for submitting applications.

Without further Ado, let’s dive!!! how to apply for a FAFSA loan?

What is the FAFSA?

FAFSA as it’s popularly called is an abbreviation for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s a form used to determine the amount of financial aid college students receive from the Federal Government each year. Also, most universities and colleges adopt this process as well.

After your FAFSA application, the board in charge will scrutinize it based on factors they mapped out. In other words, to effectively apply for FAFSA, you need to acquaint yourself with these factors. They include;

  • Year in school
  • Enrollment status (i.e. part-time or full-time)
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC): With this, the government wants to find out how much your family affords to support your education. Basically, the FAFSA board determines this by aggregating your parents’ taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits. Also, take into consideration your family size, and the number of people in your household also attending college that year.
  • Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) at your intended school: To apply for the FAFSA application on their website, you need to have ascertained the estimated cost of attendance. The COA is the estimated price it will cost for you to attend college or university. Of course, this includes the cost of books, transportation, supplies, loan fees, and personal expenses. Also, child or dependent care, disability-related costs, and study abroad program expenses are part of the COA.

Kindly note that these factors might be the same for all Colleges and universities or completely different FAFSA requirements and deadlines.

The Importance of the FAFSA

The FAFSA is more than just federal loans. You also need it to take advantage of scholarships, grants, dual study programs, and other governmental funding. If you fail to file the FAFSA, you will lose all of these federal funding opportunities, so make sure you submit your application FAFSA ASAP and complete it by the FAFSA application deadline.

And after you’ve exhausted all of your government funding and gift aid opportunities, you may need a personal student loan to cover the rest.

The world study portal team has compiled a list of over 117+ study portal scholarships for both domestic and international students.

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What Requirements and Documents Do I Need to Apply for FAFSA?

You need to gather the basic documents and apply for FAFSA before its deadlines. For the requirements, you will need a few documents, numbers, and personal information to include in your FAFSA application. Also, you will need information from your parents if need be. To that regard, here’s a list of what you will need during the FAFSA application;

  • Social Security number
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.
  • Alien Registration number (For non U.S. citizens)
  • Parents’ Social Security numbers (For dependent students)
  • Driver’s license number (if you have one – if not, don’t sweat it.)
  • Your financial information
    • Savings and checking account balances
    • Investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate
    • Business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
  • Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information (For you, your spouse, if you are married and for your parents if you are a dependent student)
    • IRS 1040
    • Foreign tax return, IRS 1040NR, or IRS 1040NR-EZ
    • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
    • Untaxed income records, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans non-education benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student

When to apply for FAFSA

No matter what you are doing as a college student, knowing when to apply for FAFSA and how to apply for a FAFSA loan is as important as the food you eat. Definitely, no one wants to lose their major source of college funding.

There are deadlines to meet and some funding is on a first-come, first-served basis. In other words, the longer you wait, the less chance you’ll have of receiving funding.

The opposite is also true: The sooner you apply for aid, the better your chances of maximizing the amount you’ll receive.

Each Year The FAFSA opens on October 1 and has a deadline of June 30 the year you need aid. This almost gives you a two-year window to apply for financial aid.

How To Apply For a FAFSA Loan

Completing the free federal student grant application, commonly known as FAFSA, is one of the most important steps in the college application process and one that almost all students must go through. Learning how to apply for a fafsa loan, surely, depends on your personality and your attitude towards the job, the FAFSA process can be exciting or, for some, a dreaded task.

Just like most other applications, FAFSA has a pattern and sequence. To kick-start, the process, follow the steps

#1. Secure or Create an FSA ID

Your FSA ID is a combination of a username and password. Of course, you will use this to sign your FAFSA form electronically. Also, you can use the FSA ID to sign loan contracts and other online access to U.S. Department of Education’s websites.

#2. Download “myStudentAid app”

Using the FSA ID, you can access the myStudentAid app. It’s in this app that you will fill out the FAFSA form during the application on a mobile device. To download, clicking for iOS or Android. On the other hand, you can also complete your FAFSA loan application on the official FAFSA website.

Begin Your FAFSA Application at the Website

Visit the FAFSA website to begin the application process. Of course, your will need your FSA ID here as well. Log in to the FAFSA website as a student to kick-start your application. Then follow the steps to complete the FAFSA form.

#3. Complete the Student Demographics Section

Kindly note that the student’s demographic section differs from the parent’s demographic section. Start out with the student’s demographic section. Also, double-check to ensure you’re entering the right information.

It’s important you enter the information on your Social Security Card or Alien Registration Card as it is.

#4. Make a Choice of Who Receives the Federal Financial Aid Awards

Now, this is a very dicey part. You can send your FAFSA application to up to 10 colleges and universities. Therefore, you have to list all the schools you’re applying for. Even if they haven’t accepted you yet.

And if at some point you change your mind, you can always add and remove schools later. Also, the schools will automatically disregard your FAFSA application if they did not send you an acceptance letter.

#5. Are You Dependent or Independent? Fill the Dependency Form!

This form requires you to indicate your level of dependency. Students who are dependent are required to provide parental information on the FAFSA. On the other hand, independent students don’t have to stress about that.

However, keep in mind that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid uses a different set of requirements when determining dependency. Click here to know more

#6. Complete the Parent Demographics Section

Here, information about your parents or sponsor is required. Also, note that if your status is “dependent”, you’ll need to complete this section.

#7. Information About All the Taxes

Provide information about your parents’ tax information. However, FAFSA makes it easier by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). This will automatically fill in your information (if you’re eligible to use it). However, you should double-check and fill in all areas.

#8. Sign, Submit, & Cross Your Fingers!

Yeah, this brings us to the last bus stop. Do not make the mistake of not submitting. Surprisingly, many students fill out the FAFSA form and then forget to sign and submit it at the end!

Ensure you sign the application electronically. And yes, the dependent students also need their parents to sign the form! Once this is done, click the submit button. And then hope for the best!!!

How Do I Use the FAFSA4Caster on the the FAFSA Website?

If you visit the FAFSA website, you will bump into the FAFSA4Caster. What could that be? The FAFSA4Caster gives you a head start on your FAFSA application. It helps you with an early estimate of your eligibility for financial aid.

The FAFSA4Caster helps students who are not quite ready to apply for FAFSA yet. Students can run through this program as early as middle school. But it’s recommended for high school juniors to complete the estimate once they’re closer to applying to college.

How does it work?

You’ll get to answer a series of questions, such as your college’s COA, estimated Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, and maximum direct subsidized loan, plus direct unsubsidized loan.

And the main angle to this is, you must answer every question. Therefore, FAFSA4Caster gives you foresight a more like an introduction to what you will be expecting during your actual FAFSA application.

Avoid These During Your FAFSA Application

In as much as we are encouraging you to apply for your FAFSA early, there are FAFSA common mistakes college students make during application. we dont want you to that too. Thus, we have put together a list common mistakes to avoid in your FAFSA application;

  • Do not leave a field blank on the FAFSA form. For the information you do not have, fill in answers that don’t apply to you with a “0” (zero). If not, it will take time to process your form or worse require you to edit the form.
  • Report all sources of untaxed income to avoid legal issues. Kindly note that these include income sources such as non-educational veteran benefits, child support, workers comp, disability, and more.
  • Enter the correct marital status. In order to file as married, you must be married before or on the date that the FAFSA is submitted. If not, you’re single. Fill as such.
  • For dependent students, ensure to include all parents. If your parents are divorced, then you also need to include your stepparents’ financial and demographic information on the FAFSA application form.
  • Most students exempt themselves in the count of household size. Your part of the count, do not skip yourself.

Also, Avoid these!

  • Ensure you apply for FAFSA ahead of the deadlines. It’s no longer news that the early birds get the worm. Do not wait until the last minute to complete your FAFSA form. Most colleges and universities give out financial aid awards base on the first-come, first-serve mantra. Also, filing early ensures that you won’t miss the FAFSA deadline.
  • Also, get your FSA ID before beginning the FAFSA application. This is so because you might need to wait up to three days to sign the FAFSA after applying for your FSA ID. Then, follow the “how to apply for FAFSA” procedure above. ,
  • Ensure you add all the colleges of interest when you apply for FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid makes provision for you to add up to 10 schools and change your preferences at any time. Also, remember to reference your college list with your target, safety, and reach schools!
  • Fill out the FAFSA application form on the website or via the app. It costs zero funds so why neglect it? Once you successfully determine how to apply for FAFSA, fill and submit the FAFSA.

Viola! You’re up for consideration!!! Congratulations!!!

When is FAFSA Application Deadlines?

FAFSA application deadline varies. However, here’s a handy list of FAFSA deadlines right here. Therefore, check these out and apply ASAP. FAFSA submissions begin as soon as the new calendar rolls out on October 1. Always keep in mind that the application commences every October 1st. And most likely the FAFSA application deadlines usually roll in every June 30th.

Frequently asked questions About how to apply for a FAFSA loan

when to apply for FAFSA?

States and individual colleges set their own FAFSA deadlines, which are generally much earlier than the federal one. You must submit your application before these deadlines in order to receive government and institutional grants and scholarships.

If you attend an out-of-state school you may not be eligible for state aid – check with the state to see if it does.

who can apply for FAFSA?

When it comes to who can apply for FAFSA there are some general eligibility requirements like; knowing whether you are in financial need, are you a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen? and are you enrolled in a qualified diploma or certificate program at your college or vocational school? There are other eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for state study grants.

Can you apply for FAFSA late?

The short answer to this question is yes! you can apply for FAFSA late. The only downside is Submitting your FAFSA after the deadline could make you lose some major college funding that you are eligible for.

However, if you miss a deadline, you will still need to file the FAFSA. You may not receive the maximum amount of support, but will still be considered for any remaining support.

How can i apply for FAFSA without my parents?

A student can’t simply choose to file as an independent on the FAFSA, the application that most schools use to determine financial aid awards. For the most part, the FAFSA relies on parental information unless the student is applying for graduate school.

You may not need to provide any information about your parents on your application form for the free federal study grant (FAFSA®).

If you answered NO to ALL of these questions, you may be considered a dependent student and may be required to provide your parents’ financial information when completing the FAFSA form.

Can you apply for fafsa twice?

You can NOT apply for FAFSA twice in one year. Nonetheless, applying for FAFSA is an annual thing. You must apply for federal study grants for every school year you attend. To reapply, you must submit a free federal study grant application (FAFSA®). If the school takes part in the electronic data exchange (EDE), you can submit a new application via the financial aid office of your university.

Can I apply for FAFSA again after dropping out?

If you drop out of school or quit school, you may not be able to get your financial assistance back. If your school has determined that you are not making satisfactory academic progress due to your enrollment status, you should appeal the decision and work with the board of directors to show that you can make the necessary changes.

What is the maximum income to qualify for FAFSA?

One of the biggest myths about financial aid is that you shouldn’t apply if your family makes too much money. But the reality is that there are no income limits with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); any eligible student can fill out the FAFSA to see if they qualify for aid.

what is needed to apply for FAFSA?

Your social security number and driver’s license, and/or alien registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen. Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. Your parents’ income tax returns, W-2 forms, and 1040 forms if you’re a dependent.

How long does FAFSA take to process?

three to five days. typically takes three to five days to process a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form that was submitted using or using the myStudentAid mobile app. You can check the status of your FAFSA form immediately after submitting it online.


When you are going to college, you should apply for the FAFSA every year. Beyond eligibility for scholarships and grants, the FAFSA is also what you need to get student loans.

You should apply for the FAFSA as early as possible. It’s relatively easy to do online and will take about 20-30 minutes of your time. The bottom line is, don’t miss the deadline, and apply early.


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