Where do I start? Go to fafsa.ed.gov. If this is your first time filling out the form, you’ll have to create an FSA ID. This basically acts as your user name and password for each year you apply — so don’t forget it.
What documents will I need? Yours and your parents’ Social Security numbers (if you’re a dependent child), driver’s licenses, federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and current bank and investment statements.
Does applying cost any money? No, it’s free. Don’t get duped into paying for a service that helps you fill out the form.
My family is middle class. Should I still apply? Yes. There’s no income cap. And if you don’t apply, you won’t be able to get any financial aid. You can use the White House College Scorecard or the online calculator that each college must post on its website to get an idea of how much financial aid you might receive.
What is the deadline? There can be multiple deadlines. To receive federal grants and loans, you must submit the FAFSA by June 30, 2017. But colleges and states might have earlier deadlines — and you could miss out on their money if you wait to apply.
I filled out the FAFSA last year. Do I have to do it again? Yes. You have to resubmit the FAFSA with updatedfinancial information each year you’re going to college.
My parents are divorced. Do I list both of their incomes? No. The parent you live with the most is the one you’ll report financial information about. If that parent is remarried, you must include his or her income, too.
When do I find out how much money I’ll get? Your financial aid award letter will be sent to you from the college. This usually comes in the spring, after you’ve been accepted.