Getting started: the FAFSA is the first step to getting financial aid

When you’re ready to start the financial aid process, the first thing you’ll need to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA). VSAC can help!


Be sure to fill out the FAFSA—even if you think your family makes too much money or other factors might make you ineligible for financial aid. It’s free and easy to fill out—and you may be surprised the aid that may be available for you.


Remember—the FAFSA is critical. It’s the first step to being considered for:


If you're ready to apply for financial aid, start your FAFSA today.


Here are some tips that will help set you up for success with the FAFSA:

  • Start early: Each October, the FAFSA is made available for the following school year. Many colleges—and VSAC’s Vermont Grant Program—make financial aid decisions on a first come, first-served basis. Submit your application as early as possible to make sure you get the most aid you can. 
  • Gather your documents ahead of time: Be prepared so you can move quickly through the form once you start. To fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to provide information about your family’s financial situation. Get a list of what you'll need to get started>
  • Create an FSA ID: The FSA ID is a username and password that is used to sign the FAFSA (and other legally binding documents) electronically and to log in to certain US Department of Education websites. The student—and the student’s parent—will each need their own FSA ID. To learn more about the FSA ID—or to create one—visit fsaid.ed.gov.
  • Make sure you’re on the right site: You can apply for the FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov. You should never pay to submit the FAFSA. It’s all free. Be sure the site you are using ends in .gov and not .com.
  • Check your deadlines: Schools each have their own deadlines. Vermont grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For non-Vermonters, state deadlines are available at fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to check with the colleges and career schools you’re applying to for their FAFSA deadlines.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help: There are many FAFSA resources available right here on the VSAC website—including more tips for getting started, as well as helpful videos. Tips are also available as you go through the application.
  • Know your colleges: While completing the FAFSA, you must list at least 1 college to receive your information. To be considered for a Vermont grant, be sure to list your first-choice colleges from any state in the first 3 positions. You may update your choices later to receive aid at a different school. 
  • Get ready to apply for the Vermont grant: Once you've submitted your FAFSA, it's time to apply for the Vermont grant. It’s easy.  At the end of the FAFSA you’ll see a link to complete the Vermont Grant Application. Follow the link for application instructions.

The information you provide on your FAFSA will help to decide how much you'll be expected to pay for college or career school—and how much financial aid you may receive.


If you're ready to apply for financial aid, start your FAFSA today.