GenTX FAFSA Workshops

FAFSA Month is coming soon in February 2016!


What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the application you will use to apply for the federal student aid programs offered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to help pay for college or career school. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care.

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

ED awards more than $150 billion a year in federal student aid (grants, work-study funds, and loans). Learn more at StudentAid.gov/types.

Applying online is generally faster and easier for three reasons:

  • FAFSA on the Web has built-in help to guide you through the application process.
  • Skip logic in FAFSA on the Web guides you to answer key questions and may allow you to skip other questions and complete the application faster.
  • The schools you list on your application will receive your processed information faster.

How do I complete the FAFSA?

There are three ways to complete a FAFSA:

  • Online (FAFSA on the WebSM) at www.fafsa.gov (recommended)
  • www.fafsa.gov and go to FAFSA Filing Options
  • Paper FAFSA (request a copy by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID [1-800-433-3243]

In some cases, you might be able to apply directly through your school. You should check with the financial aid administrator at the school you are interested in attending to see if the school can assist you with your application. If you are using FAFSA on the Web, the PDF or the paper FAFSA (sometimes referred to as the paper form), you can use the instructions in this guide to help you complete the application process. Online filers who need additional assistance with a particular question can use the online help found in the “Help and Hints” box on the right-hand side of the screen for each question.

If you filed a FAFSA previously...

When you start to complete your 2015–16 application you will be asked if you want the information from the 2014–15 FAFSA to pre-fill the new application. You will be given this option if you filed a 2014–15 FAFSA. This process will allow you to complete the 2015–16 FAFSA in less time.

Using a Federal Student Aid PIN to sign your application

You and your parents are encouraged to apply for a Federal Student Aid PIN to sign your online application. For a student who provides parental information on the FAFSA, at least one parent who provides information on the application must sign.

Later, in the Dependency Questions, section (questions 46–58), we will cover how you can determine if your parents will need to provide information on the FAFSA.

Your PIN will serve as an identifier and as your electronic signature. It works much like the personal identification number you get from your bank. You can apply for a PIN from within FAFSA on the Web or at the Federal Student Aid PIN website at www.pin.ed.gov. After completing the PIN application, you must choose how you want your PIN delivered to you. You can do the following:

  • Create your own PIN.
  • Have a system-generated PIN instantly displayed online.
  • Have a system-generated PIN instantly sent in a secure link to your e-mail address.

You or your parent (if you are a dependent student) may use the new PIN immediately to sign an original FAFSA. Then within one to three days after you receive your PIN, your name, date of birth, and Social Security number (SSN) are verified with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If the SSA confirms your information, your PIN is then valid for all its uses, which include:

  • access to your Student Aid Report online,
  • access to your data to make corrections,
  • the option of completing a FAFSA Renewal with most of your information retained from the previous year, and
  • access to your information on other Federal Student Aid websites, such as the
    National Student Loan Data System®.

If there is a problem with the SSA match, your PIN will be deactivated and you will be notified.

Tip!

  • Beginning in April 2015, the FSA ID will replace the PIN. The FSA ID will comprise a user-selected username and password. This change will eliminate the need for individuals to enter personal identifiers (Social Security number, name, and date of birth) each time they log in. In April, additional information will be available on www.fafsa.gov, and we will update this section of this document. Until that update, continue to use your assigned PIN.

Both Web and paper FAFSA filers may provide their e-mail addresses by completing question 13. If you provide your e-mail address, you will receive your student financial aid correspondence by e-mail. Federal Student Aid uses your e-mail address to communicate important information about your application. For more information, see the Privacy Act on page 18.

You are not required to have a PIN to complete and submit an original application; however, using a PIN is the fastest way to sign your application. If you do not have a PIN to electronically sign your application, you can print, sign, and mail in a signature page.
If you choose to submit your application and mail in a signature page, you will automatically receive a PIN, by e-mail, if we determine that you do not already have a PIN assigned to you and you provided an e-mail address. If you already have a PIN and need a copy of it sent to you, you can go to www.pin.ed.gov to request a duplicate copy.

If you have any further questions about the PIN, please visit the above website.