FAFSA: Frequently Asked Questions

Need financial aid for college? You’ll need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which gives you access to loans, grants and work-study funds provided by the U.S. government. FAFSA info is also used by state governments and many schools to determine your aid, so it’s vital you fill it out – and do so as early as possible!

The beauty is, it only takes about 30 minutes to complete online (fafsa.ed.gov), and it’s free!

Fill out FAFSA

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs below.

FAQs

Yes, a new FAFSA is necessary in order to be eligible for federal financial aid each academic year.

  • The 2020-21 FAFSA includes fall 2020, spring 2021 and summer 2021
  • The 2021-22 FAFSA includes fall 2021, spring 2022 and summer 2022

A new FAFSA is available each year on Oct. 1.

  • The 2020-21 FAFSA uses your 2018 tax information.
  • The 2021-22 FAFSA uses your 2019 tax information.

Most likely, you have already filed your taxes, as most of the deadlines to file have passed. If you have not filed yet, you must do so in order to be eligible for federal financial aid.

In the meantime, you can complete the FAFSA with estimated information and revise it once your taxes have been filed.

If you earned income and are not sure if you need to file, go to the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant to find out if you need to file taxes. If you are not required to file, you can simply list any income you may have earned during that tax year.

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What information do I need to fill out the 2020-21 FAFSA?

You will need:

  • Your FSA ID login information
  • Your Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
  • Your tax information
    • 2020-21 FAFSA - 2018 tax information
    • 2021-22 FAFSA - 2019 tax information
  • Records of untaxed income
  • Cash, savings and checking account balances
  • George Fox University’s school code: 003194

How do I get a FAFSA login?

You will need to create an FSA ID and password at fsaid.ed.gov.

How can I make this easier?

If you are eligible, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The tool imports your tax information directly into the FAFSA, helping you to save time and avoid mistakes. It will also make verification much easier should you be selected.

What is an FSA ID?

Your FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to login to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the FAFSA.

It's important to understand that a student and parent may not share an FSA ID. Your FSA ID is your signature, so it has to be unique to you. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child’s FAFSA form electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications, but each child must have his or her own.

FSA ID Troubleshooting

The following questions and more are answered in detail at studentaid.ed.gov.

  • What if I forgot my FSA ID username and/or password?
  • What do I do if I get a message saying my FSA ID is locked?
  • What is an FSA ID?
  • Why won't my FSA ID work?
  • Who needs an FSA ID?

Family Information to Know

The FAFSA calculates an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount the government expects your family to contribute to your education. This is an index number that colleges use to determine your financial need.

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

  • Will you be 24 or older by Dec. 31 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
  • Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, etc.)?
  • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

You must continue to use your parents’ income information as long as you are considered a dependent according to FAFSA requirements. Refer to the question above to determine if you are a dependent or independent student.

You can fill out the FAFSA using estimated tax information. Any changes or corrections need to be updated on the FAFSA after your taxes are complete.

What is verification, and why do I have to do it?

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education randomly selects approximately 22% of those who complete the FAFSA for a process called verification. If selected, there’s no need to worry! Verification is simply designed to make sure information submitted on the FAFSA matches actual tax records.

If you’re selected, you will need to complete a Verification Worksheet and submit tax transcripts for both the parent and student. Your financial aid counselor will compare the figures on the tax documents with what you reported on the FAFSA and make updates to your record if necessary. If you have already received an award before verification is complete, a revised award may be sent.

What is the deadline to submit FAFSA?

Each October, the FAFSA is available for the next school year. While we don’t have a deadline, it’s important to fill it out as soon as possible to meet state and school financial aid deadlines. It also places you in line for first-come, first-served grants.

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Contact your financial aid counselor with any questions you may have!