FAFSA Overview

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Students need to complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for all federal and state aid programs. Students need to file the FAFSA each year they are in college in order to be considered for aid. Filing the FAFSA is FREE.

Eligibility: Only U.S. citizens and eligible non-residents can file a FAFSA. If a student is undocumented or has DACA status, they should file the ORSAA instead.

Apply at: fafsa.ed.gov

Opens: October 1 -- Students should complete it as soon as possible to avoid any delays in award notification

Help Line: 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)

Creating an Account


  • Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites, like the FAFSA.
  • Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. The FSA ID has replaced the FAFSA PIN.
  • You can create an FSA ID by going to www.fafsa.gov.

Tax Information

  • Most people can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to directly link the FAFSA to the IRS. We highly encourage students to use this tool because using IRS Data Retrieval Tool eliminates the need for submitting additional documentation to the college financial id offices during the verification process.
  • If you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval tool, we suggest ordering a Tax Transcript right away because the financial aid offices will likely request this during the verification process. You can obtain a copy of Tax Transcripts online at www.irs.gov or by using the 4506-T.

Resources for Volunteers

Financial Aid Toolkit

The Financial Aid Toolkit is on the FAFSA site and it provides federal student aid information and outreach tools designed specifically for mentors and counselors.

Web Demo: FAFSA on the Web

As a volunteer you can complete a FAFSA demo. This will help you become better prepared when you are assisting students.

    • User name: eddemo (case-sensitive)
    • Password: fafsatest (case-sensitive)

FAFSA Verification and Rejection One Pager

This one page document has useful information to help students to address issues with their FAFSA.

FAFSA Worksheets - English Version, Spanish Version

This is a useful tool, provided by ECMC, to help students and families prepare for completing the FAFSA.

Trainings from FAFSA

Attend free online trainings provided by FAFSA via the National Training for Counselors and Mentors (NT4CM).