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Applying for Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Whether you are a new or continuing undergraduate, transfer, or graduate student, you only need one form to apply for financial aid at UMass Amherst - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly called the FAFSA. We use the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal, state and University aid programs.

Everyone is eligible for some form of financial aid. We recommend you apply immediately after January 1 to meet our priority filing date of March 1. You can estimate your tax information and then update your application once your tax return is complete using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If your application is late, Financial Aid Services will only consider you for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans, and certain state scholarships. Be sure to list the University of Massachusetts's Federal School Code, 002221, on the FAFSA. The FAFSA form is available in English and Spanish.

Through the FAFSA on the Web, the U.S. Department of Education Web site, you can complete and submit your application online.

Seven Easy Steps to the FAFSA

Click on the link for an online tutorial on the Seven easy steps to the FAFSA . A student’s guide to successfully completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Your Federal Student Aid PIN

When you apply for financial aid you should also apply for a Federal Student Aid PIN. Parents of dependent students will need a Federal Student Aid PIN as well. You can apply for a PIN from within FAFSA on the Web or at the Federal Student Aid PIN Web site.

The PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It is like the Personal Identification Number (PIN) that gives you to access your bank accounts. Anyone who has a valid Social Security Number and is a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen may apply for a PIN. Because you can use your PIN to sign your financial aid documents, you should keep it in a safe place. Do not give or entrust it to anyone, even if that person or organization is helping you fill out your FAFSA.

After completing a FAFSA on the Web application, you and your parents (if you are a dependent student) will need to sign your application. The FAFSA cannot be processed without these signatures. Using a PIN to sign your application electronically is by far the fastest and most reliable way to sign your application. However, you can print, sign and mail in a signature page, or provide signature(s) on your paper Student Aid Report (SAR).

Your PIN will stay the same from year to year and you will not need to apply for a new one. You will be able to use it to access and electronically sign your FAFSA each year that you apply for financial aid.