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Frequently Asked Questions

The FAFSA is an acronym for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  This is a financial aid form used to determine your eligibility for financial aid from the Federal Government. This includes grants, loans and work-study. Also, the form is used by many states, colleges and universities to determine eligibility for their financial aid programs. The FAFSA is completed annually.

Go to www.fafsa.gov to file your FAFSA today.

The priority deadline to file the FAFSA is May 1.  You must submit a FAFSA every year to be considered for financial aid.

Prior Year refers to the tax year used for the FAFSA. This allows students to submit their FAFSA in October by using tax information from the year prior to their enrollment. For example, a student enrolling in fall 2018 will submit the FAFSA using 2016 tax information. In the past, the student had the added challenge of estimating tax information so that the form could be submitted by school’s deadlines. With Prior Year, there is no need to estimate, you can use your already filed tax return.

Filing the FAFSA late may impact the amount of financial aid available. Some financial aid funding is limited, so the earlier you apply the more likely awards will be available if you qualify. But it is better to file it late than not at all.

YES! You must use 2016 tax and income information when filing your 2018-2019 FAFSA.

No. The Department of Education has determined which year’s tax information is provided for each academic year.

Federal regulations require Financial Aid Services to apply a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education to determine the amount of federal financial aid a student has earned as of the date in the student last attended classes.

The amount of federal financial aid returned to federal aid programs is determined by the amount of time the student spent in academic attendance, but has no relationship to the institutional charges incurred by the student.

After 60% of the semester has passed, the student has earned 100% of the federal financial aid awarded to them. For students receiving state financial aid, a state refund calculation will be completed. The state refund calculation takes into consideration the amount the student owes and the amount of federal aid the student may remain eligible for.

Yes! Using prior year taxes means that almost all families will have filed taxes when the FAFSA becomes available.