If you are thinking about attending college, the first step you need to take is to fill out your FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid). The entire FAFSA filing process takes just a couple of hours but could provide resources to cover some, if not all, of your college expenses.
The Department of Education has made several changes to streamline the process of applying to and completing the FAFSA. If you still need some help with the process, here are the top FAFSA resources to guide you through the process.
Free FAFSA Web Resources
1. Free Application For Federal Student Aid Website
The FAFSA website has many resources to help you with your financial aid application. You can find eligibility requirements and the amount of aid you may qualify for by using the FAFSA4Caster. There is also printable FAFSA Worksheet to help you compile the information needed to complete your application.
2. FAFSA YouTube Channel
This YouTube channel is dedicated to all things financial aid. It contains a collection of short videos that cover everything from filling out forms to student loan repayment.
3. FASA Social Media Accounts
FAFSA maintains an active social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. They regularly post updates to FAFSA, deadlines, tips, etc.
This site is a free resource that provides students with step-by-step instructions for registering and attending college. It contains tuition calculators and a simple 3 steps to financial aid section.
5. How-To Guide for High School Students FAFSA
This guide from The Center for New York Affairs helps high school students across the nation navigate the FAFSA. It is geared toward those who may be the first among their family members to go to college or are new to the United States. You can download the free guide on this site.
6. FAFSA for Non-U.S. Citizens
There are some financial aid options that are available to people who are not citizens of the United States. This section of the FAFSA site will walk you through eligibility requirements and what documents are required. While no federal aid is available for undocumented residents, they may still qualify for state funds as well as non-profit and private financial aid resources.
7. Studentaid.gov FAFSA FAQs and Guides
This site is operated by Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, and the largest provider of student financial aid in the U.S. It provides all of the resources you need to successfully apply for and complete your FAFSA. Common questions are posted as well as tutorials and dozens of step-by-step guides.
8. U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education website contains links to all the necessary FAFSA related forms. This site also links you to your state’s department of education.
9. EducationQuest FAFSA Tutorial
This tutorial provides in-depth information on just about every part of the FAFSA. It provides definitions for all of the terms you will come across when applying and also offers tips on how you need to fill out those sections correctly. The left-hand menu and top navigation bar on the site help you to easily find what you are looking for.
Edvisors is an online resource where you can explore information on grants, scholarships, and loans. Their 2018-2019 FAFSA Guide is especially helpful for students seeking financial aid.
11. Khan Academy: The Financial Aid Process
Khan Academy is a non-profit educational website that offers free online courses on a variety of subjects to students K-12 and beyond. They have an excellent collection of financial aid video tutorials that cover all steps of applying for aid.
12. National Association of Financial Aid Administrators
This organization is dedicated to promoting access to higher education for as many people as possible. They offer tools for financial aid eligibility, tax information, and outline common mistakes to avoid.
13. Nerd Wallet
This site provides a How to Get Free Money For College guide that can help answer common questions you have about the FAFSA as well as walk you through the steps of the application process.
FAFSA Online Webinars
14. Financial Toolkit
As part of the free FAFSA resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the Financial Aid Toolkit provides links to financial aid training and tips for the current academic year.
15. Mapping Your Future
This site provides live and archived FAFSA webinars. See their upcoming webinars link for future events.
16. Student Choice
Student Choice regularly hosts webinars on applying for the FAFSA, scholarships, and other types of financial aid. Visit the site to sign up for a webinar.
In-Person and Phone Assistance for FAFSA
17. State Contact Information
This map provides contact information for education departments in your specific state. In-person assistance to help with filing your FAFSA can be found in nearly all educational institutions. Contact your college admissions department for details.
18. Form Your Future
This resource helps people organize FAFSA completion events for your community. An event toolkit is located on the site to help start planning the event.
19. FAFSA Access and Help By Phone
If you do not have Internet access at home or do not have the ability to make it into a FAFSA assistance center, you can also get assistance by phone by calling the Federal Aid Information Center.
20. Fee-based FAFSA resources
With the amount of free FAFSA resources available, paying someone to assist you with filing for aid should not be necessary. However, if you have an unusual circumstance that requires you to use a fee-based service, do so with caution. Visit the federal student aid scams page for information on avoiding potential financial aid scams.
Take advantage of the FAFSA resources listed above to secure your financial aid. You might just find that the whole process of applying for and receiving aid is easier than you thought.