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FAFSA 2022-23: A Guide to Financial Aid for Parents and Students

Financial Aid by <a href="http://www.nyphotographic.com/">Nick Youngson</a> <a rel="license" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC BY-SA 3.0</a> <a href="https://pix4free.org/">Pix4free.org</a>. Modified by O's List.
Financial Aid by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free.org. Modified by O's List.

Dear College Applicants/Students and their Parents,

Are you looking for financial aid to pay for college? Did you know that you can get financial aid from the government and colleges by filing just one form? Yes! It is really that easy. The form is known as FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is used by the federal and state governments and colleges to determine how much need based aid you can be awarded.

So, by filing one form you can get federal and state aid as well as institutional aid from colleges. Some colleges also use the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA to determine your institutional aid.

Filing the FAFSA is what is going to unlock the need based aid for you. Financial aid can be need based aid and merit aid. Need based aid depends on your and your family’s income and assets and the number of children in your family attending college at the same time. It also depends on the cost of college.

Need based financial aid equation. Graphic © by O's List.

The FAFSA process has two sets of deadlines, and it is important to be aware of both of them.

Filing Deadlines:

That is the most important thing to keep in mind as you look for financial aid. FAFSA 2022-2023 is open for filing from October 1, 2021. The last date for filing the 2022-23 FAFSA to receive federal aid is June 30, 2023. The deadline for filing the 2021-22 FAFSA is June 30, 2022. This is the federal deadline. However, that is not the only date you should be noting on your calendar. There are two other critical deadlines:

  1. State deadline: Each state has its deadline by when you have to file the FAFSA so that you can get any state awarded financial aid. E.g. the deadline for Cal grants awarded by California to its eligible residents is the March 2 filing deadline of the FAFSA. Check your state's deadline.
  2. College Deadline: Each college has a deadline by when you must submit the FAFSA so that you can get institutional aid if you are eligible to receive any aid. These deadlines can be called priority deadlines or financial aid deadline and will vary from college to college. Please check on the financial aid website of the college or you can also call their office of financial aid to talk with someone about it. Usually, the college deadlines are earlier than both the state and federal deadlines.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you file the FAFSA. We have made it easy for you by collecting all the resources you will want to read before you begin the process.

Please fill your FAFSA as it is one the best things you can do to get financial aid towards your or your student’s education. A great way to check if you are eligible for financial aid is to use the net price calculator which is available on every college’s financial aid webpages. Even if you feel that you may not be eligible for financial aid, it is a good idea to file the FAFSA, to protect against a loss of income. If you have not filed the FAFSA and there is a loss of income, you will not be able to avail of any financial aid. Our recommendation is that every family should file the FAFSA.

The O's List Team

Your Handy Resources for Filing the FAFSA

  • Read the form before you file the FAFSA. How do you do that? Read the print version of the 2022-23 FAFSA. This will help you familiarize yourself with the questions on the form before you begin filing. It will also give you a sense of the information, documents and data you will need while filing the FAFSA.
  • Parents, read the Parent's Guide to Filing the FAFSA. This an absolute must read. It lists all the steps you and your student will need to take for filing the FAFSA.
  • The list of required documents you will need to have with you as you file the FAFSA.
  • Parents and students will need to create separate FSA IDs before filing FAFSA. A useful list of the steps needed for creating the FSA account
  • Here is the list of income and assets that you will need to report on FAFSA. A Must read. You can also use the IRS data retrieval tool to fill in income and tax information. You will be reporting 2020 income for 2022-23 FAFSA and 2019 income for the 2021-22 FAFSA and current assets and cash at the time of filing of either FAFSA.
  • A list of common questions about the FAFSA. Check it out before beginning your filing.
  • A YouTube video of what happens after filing the FAFSA.
  • After filing the FAFSA, you will receive the Student Aid Report. The SAR summarizes all the information that you provided on the FAFSA. The SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your eligibility and estimates for federal student loans and Federal Pell grants and if you were selected for verification. Always check out the SAR after filing your FAFSA. The SAR will not tell you if you have/will receive financial aid or the amount of aid that can be offered to you. Only the college will let you know of the amount of financial aid package you can/will receive from them.
  • Some you may need to review and correct your FAFSA. Steps to do so are listed here. The deadline for any corrections for the 2022-23 FAFSA is September 15, 2023.
  • Do you need to send the FAFSA to more than 10 colleges? Currently the FAFSA allows you to list upto10 colleges at any given time. Here is how you can send the FAFSA to more than your initial 10 colleges.

Important Notes About Filing the FAFSA

  • Parents and students need separate FSA IDs.
  • If the student has filed a tax return or has separate bank/brokerage accounts, W-2s, etc.; have those available along with the parent's information.
  • While filing the FAFSA, please avoid simultaneous logins by the student and parent.
  • Please avoid these common FAFSA mistakes
  • File FAFSA by the financial deadline of the college and the state deadline for state aid.

Video Tutorials for FAFSA

It might be helpful to go over some tutorials before filing the FAFSA. The videos will give you a visual guide and few helpful tips. These are the tutorials that we liked: