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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q: What is the FAFSA?

To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.

In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

Q: Where do I find more information about federal student aid?

You can find more information about federal student aid through the following sources:

    • Visit
    • Get updates and information from the Federal Student Aid Facebook page and @FAFSA Twitter feed.
    • Visit the Federal Student Aid YouTube page.
    • Download the free publication, Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid by visiting
    • Contact our Federal Student Aid Information Center through any of the options listed under the “Contact Us” section of our “Help” page.
    • Visit the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend.
Q: Why should I fill out the FAFSA?

Completing and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the single most important thing you can do to get assistance paying for college.

The U.S. Department of Education uses the FAFSA to determine students’ eligibility for federal student aid. Every year, the federal government awards about $150 billion in the form of grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to help millions of students pay for college.

Many state governments and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for nonfederal aid.

Unfortunately, some students feel like they shouldn’t bother filling out a FAFSA because of some common myths. These include:

    • “I (or my parents) make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”
    • “Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
    • “I’m too old to get financial aid.”
    • “The form is too hard to fill out.”

However, these concerns are usually unfounded. For more information, download “Myths About Financial Aid” at

Q: Will I need to fill out the FAFSA each year?

Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one award year to the next, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each award year in which you are or plan to be a student.

Your eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including your family’s financial situation and the number of your family members enrolled in college.