How to Apply for Student Loans

Every student that wants to apply for student loans must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be accessed online through the Department of Education's website. Students can print the FAFSA and mail it in or they can fill the FAFSA out electronically and submit it through the Internet. The FAFSA should be filled out and submitted at the same time that students are applying to colleges. Once the FAFSA is completed, every school that the student applies to receives the information from the form. Students must complete a FAFSA every school year that they wish to receive financial aid.      

Details of the FAFSA

The first information that a student must determine is his/her dependency status. The Department of Education provides worksheets that help students determine whether they are or are not dependents of their parents. If a student is a dependent, he/she must include parental information on the FAFSA. A married student will need to include spousal information.

The Department of Education does everything that it can to simplify the process of completing the FAFSA. The Department supplies a worksheet that asks, in a less complicated way, the exact information that the FAFSA requires. This is to insure that students have an organized way to accurately complete the form. Students can fill out the form and then transcribe, in exact order, the answers from the worksheet onto the real FAFSA form.

Every college and/or university has its own code that must be entered on the FAFSA. Students can search for college codes through the Department of Education's website.

In order to fill out the form and submit it quickly, students must apply for and obtain a FAFSA PIN. This PIN will be used as a way to sign the form electronically.

Once the FAFSA is submitted, students can check the status of their applications on the Department of Education's websitre. Once an application is processed, the student will receive a Student Aid Report. The Student Aid Report details the amount of aid and the type of aid that a student will receive. The actual aid is based on a student's and his/her family's financial need, which is determined through a figure called Expected Family Contribution (EFC).     

Documents Needed for the FAFSA

  • Students need to have the following documents accessible
  • Social security number
  • Driver's license
  • Previous year's W-2 form and other income records
  • Previous year's Federal Income Tax Return
  • Previous year's untaxed income records
  • Current bank statements
  • Mortgage information, business records, stock, bond, and investment records

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