WHAT IS THE FAFSA?

Most forms of federal, state and institutional aid are applied for with the FAFSA. Scholarships are the only exception. Visit our Scholarships page for more information.

FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is used to apply for grants and educational loans at nearly every school in the country. The best way for most students to submit their FAFSA is online at FAFSA on the website. In order to submit the FAFSA, you’ll need the following information for yourself and your parents (if you’re a dependent):

  • Your Social Security Number and/or alien registration number
  • Your driver’s license (if you have one)
  • Your last year’s W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
  • Your (and your spouse’s, if you are married) last year’s Federal Income Tax Return – IRS Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040 TeleFile, or foreign tax return; if you have not yet filed, you’ll need good estimates of the amounts involved.
  • Your last year’s untaxed income records – Social Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), welfare, or veterans benefits records (if applicable)
  • Your bank statements
  • Your last year’s business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond and other investment records (if any)

We strongly recommend that you submit your FAFSA online. The online application has a number of built-in audits to help you avoid some common errors. Like the paper application, the FAFSA online must be signed. There are two ways of signing your FAFSA if you are submitting it online. First, you can sign it with your Department of Education PIN number, for which you can easily apply on the FAFSA web site. Dependent students’ parents can also apply with their own PIN on the web site, so the entire application can be electronically signed and submitted. Second, if you don’t want to use the PIN, you can print out a signature page at the end of the online application – the student and parent then sign this page and mail it in.

Be sure to avoid these common errors, especially if you are filling out a paper FAFSA. The FAFSA must be signed by the student and a parent of dependent students – don’t leave the signatures off! Dependent students must provide parental income information, even if their parents do not help them with their educational costs.

Once your FAFSA has been submitted, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education, either by email or postal mail. When you receive the SAR, carefully review it to make sure that all the information is accurate. If everything is correct, you don’t need to do anything else with the SAR. Shortly after you receive your SAR, NAA will receive the same information from the U.S. Department of Education. At that point, we may select you for verification and ask you to submit additional documentation to our office, or we may simply offer you some awards.