Fafsa facts and tips

Written by
Sabina Haskell

December 5, 2016


Federal Student Aid, FAFSA homepage

First things first – that means the Fafsa

Most financial aid is first come, first served. Don’t miss out on available money because you wait too long! File the Fafsa even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for federal aid. It’s also used by most schools in determining institutional aid and scholarships.

The Fafsa, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the basis for determining eligibility for federal Pell grants, VSAC’s Vermont State Grant, financial aid from the school and for student loans. Simply put: no Fafsa, no financial aid.

It takes most people less than an hour to finish the Fafsa. A couple more questions and you’ve got the Vermont State Grant finished too. Every year, VSAC gives out $19 million in grants to over 13,000 students in full-time, part-time and nondegree study.

Students and parents should sign up for a FSA ID at https://www.fsaid.ed.gov. The form takes about 10 minutes to complete and 1-3 days to verify and issue the ID from Federal Student Aid.

If you need some extra assistance, contact us or watch this presentation online. 

Fafsa starts Oct. 1. Now you can file three months earlier! The online application is available at www.fafsa.gov. Students and families who file online will receive their student aid report and expected family contribution within a week.

Apply for Vermont state grant at the same time! The Vermont state grant is now available Oct. 1, too. That means once you finish the Fafsa, it’s just a few more questions to apply for this exceptional need-based grant. Every year, VSAC gives out $19 million in grants to over 13,000 students in full-time, part-time and nondegree study.

2015 tax return is used. In the past, families often had to “guestimate” their income for the year just ended. Now, the Fafsa uses the tax return that’s already filed. Better still, with a click of the button, it’s all downloaded from the IRS. Simple and fast – most people finish within 30 minutes!

Get your FSA ID first. You’ll save time and make it easier to file the Fafsa if you create your user ID and password first at www.fafsa.gov.

List your school choices. Even though you haven’t decided on where you’ll go to school, you should list all the ones you’re considering. The schools don’t see your list, but VSAC will use the list in determining a Vermont State Grant.