Every year more than 13 million students in the US will use Federal funding to help pay for the costs of attending vocational programs or colleges. Applying for Federal financial aid begins with completing the FAFSA.The FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is an application that determines whether a student and their family are eligible for financial aid – grants, work-study income and loans. Students who are considered to be dependents will have their family’s financial information taken into account. Learn more about dependency status here.

You will first need to create a FSA-ID, one for the student and one for the parent who will be listed as parent 1 when completing the FAFSA. This requires Social Security numbers and birth dates for both applicants, along with security questions. Students who live in a single parent (divorced or separated) household only provide information for the parent with whom they’ve primarily lived with for the past 12 months.

To complete the FAFSA for financial aid for the 2018-2019 academic year, you will need your family’s financial information – including 2016 federal income tax forms – and your own if you are working. The IRS and Federal Student Aid have linked to provided a data retrieval tool to import financial information for the required tax document.Other useful documentation includes cash, checking and savings; investments; and any other money received by anyone in the immediate family.

March 1 is the priority deadline for the FAFSA at most colleges. Contact Bridges if you have questions about the FAFSA or for assistance in competing the FAFSA application.

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