Financial Aid Info

FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Aid information

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

If you need help in filling out your FAFSA application you may want to attend College Goal Sunday. At a College Goal Sunday location they will have people available to help you fill out the FAFSA.

FAFSA: Step By Step

What is it? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The federal government uses this form to determine your eligibility for financial aid, which includes: grants, scholarships, work-study and loans.

Why fill it out? The FAFSA is used to determine how much aid you’re eligible for. Think of it this way:

FAFSA EFC – Financial Need = Financial Aid

EFC stand for Expected Family Contribution. Your family must contribute this amount in the coming academic year to your college costs, per the government’s calculation.

How does it work? Your prospective college will try to meet your financial need through aid made up of funds from federal, state, school and private sources. This may include loans, grants, scholarships, and student employment.

FAFSA Process: 1-2-3

The three steps to apply for federal aid:

Step 1: Assemble forms needed to complete FAFSA

You’ll need the following to fill out the form:

-Social security number and driver’s license

-Current bank statements

-Current mortgage and investment records (if any)

-Alien registration card (check www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information on eligibility)

-Last years student and parent (if dependent) federal tax return (estimates are OK on tax questions)

-Last years untaxed income records (if any)

-Last years W2 forms and other record of money earned

Step 2: Complete the FAFSA

  • Complete FAFSA on the Web: www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  • In order to maximize your amount of aid, fill out the FAFSA as soon as October 1.
  • Once finished, print the FAFSA summary as well as the “Submission Confirmation” page (or write down your confirmation number and date). If completing the paper version, make a copy for your records before mailing.

Step 3: Review your Student Aid Report (SAR)

The SAR is proof that your FAFSA was received. You should receive your electronic SAR in 1-3 days if you signed with your PIN (paper: 2-3 weeks).

What if I find errors or need to make changes on my SAR?

  • Report errors immediately to your financial aid office. You can also make corrections online at: www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  • If you don’t receive your SAR in 3-4weeks, call 1-800-433-3243 (1-800-4-FED-AID).

FAFSA Tips

  • Fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1, and each successive year once you’re in college: Early submission maximizes chances of receiving aid.
  • Fill out a “FAFSA on the WEB” worksheet: Click “Before Beginning a FAFSA,” then “Print a Pre-Application Worksheet.” Use the print-out as a guide before committing answers online. DO NOT enter online answers directly from the paper FAFSA! FAFSA on the Web and paper FAFSA questions are in a different order!
  • Sign the application: if you are filing as a dependent, make sure your parents sign too. You can use your PIN if signing electronically.
  • Save your FAFSA online if you can’t finish it in one session: Click the “Save” button at the bottom of each step to save info for 45 days.
  • Don't leave a field blank. If a question doesn't apply enter "0"
  • Make or print a copy of your FAFSA for your records.

PIN: Your Key to Online Identification

The Personal Identification Number (PIN) is the code that the U.S. Department of Education uses to identify you online. A PIN allows you to do the following on a FAFSA:

1. Electronically sign to speed up the process

2. Check the status 3. Make corrections

4. Fill out an online renewal form next year

To obtain a PIN, eligible students AND parents can visit www.pin.ed.gov (students and parents should each receive their own PINs). Click on “Apply for PIN” near the top of the page. Allow four hours for instructions to be sent via e-mail.

Guard your PIN! Do not reveal your PIN to anyone. The PIN allows anyone to electronically sign federal student aid documents and access your confidential information. To change, cancel or retrieve a duplicate PIN, visit: www.pin.ed.gov.

Remember that the FAFSA is FREE! If you need help, ask your financial aid office or call the FAFSA Help Desk at: 1-800-4-FED-AID.

 College Board
 Financial Aid Calculator
 Peterson’s Financial Aid Channel
 Sally Mae

FAFSA links
FAFSA -Everything you need to know for filling out the FAFSA application


Financial Aid Q&A
MN Association of Financial Aid Administrators Understanding Financial Aid, budgeting, payment calculator and more.


Other helpful links
How to apply for a scholarship

Summer Nudging We send out approximately 15 text message or email reminders about important college tasks, such as the FAFSA, class registration, orientation, etc.

Paying for College -The Paying for College program and videos are packed with concrete advice from local experts who help demystify how Minnesota families can finance a four-year college education.

Scholarship and Grants guide

Reciprocity -Check here for states that apply

NCAA - This site outlines academic eligibility and initial clearinghouse procedures along with recruiting for Division I, II, and III.

Scholarship Toolbox -Scholarship myths, scams and general help to get you started.