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What Is the FAFSA?

How to apply for federal financial aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. Complete the form online. You use it to apply for Federal student financial aid, such as grants and student loans.

How do I apply?

Five Easy Steps to Qualify for Federal Financial Aid:

Apply with the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid).

You can complete this application online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or get a paper FAFSA form from our financial aid office, your local library, or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). You can apply beginning January 1 of the year you plan to attend school, until June 30 of the following year. Apply early!

Keep a copy of your application.

Make a copy of your application (or print out a copy of your online FAFSA) so you’ll have one for your records. Save all other records as well, in case there’s a need to verify the information you reported.

Verify your information on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Depending on what method you used to fill out your FAFSA, your Student Aid Report will be mailed to you or provided online. This report confirms the information you reported and states your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

Contact us.

Talk with your financial aid advisor at CollegeAmerica. Make sure we have the information needed to determine your eligibility. We will review your SAR, and we will contact you with the amount of federal financial aid you qualify for. We can also refer you to other potential sources of financial aid.

Research private financial aid options.

Check with your financial aid advisor for help find private financial aid options that apply in your state. Also, download our guide to financial aid for more information.
What Information Will I Need to Provide?

The following checklist will help you gather the information you’ll need to complete your FAFSA. By keeping copies of this information, you’ll save yourself time later when you apply for private aid, as many sources require this same information (download our guide to financial aid).

FAFSA Checklist

Helpful FAFSA Hints

Still have questions? We’ll walk you through the process. Call us at 1-800-622-2894 or click here to request more information.

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