What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a tool to help students get access to financial aid such as grants, student loans, and work-study. The FAFSA is a federal application, but may also help applicants gain access to state and university funds, as well.

Federal Student Aid At a Glance

Who is eligible for the FAFSA?

If you:

  • Are a US Citizen OR
  • Have a Green Card, I-94, or T-visa OR
  • Have Battered Immigrant Status

…and you:

  • Have a GED or high school diploma AND
  • Are enrolling in college,

…you should be eligible! Click the infographic to the right to confirm you are ready to fill out the FAFSA.

How do I fill out the FAFSA?

To fill out the FAFSA, you will need:

        • You and your parents’ Social Security Numbers
        • You and your parents’ tax information from the year before (Hint: if you’ve already submitted your taxes, you can use the IRS Retrieval Tool to speed up the process)
        • Records of untaxed income (bank accounts, interest, investments, etc.)
        • Your Driver’s License number, if you have one
        • An FSA ID (Click here to learn how to create yours, or watch the video below)


Click the links below to fill out your FAFSA or find out more information!

When should I fill out the FAFSA?

Source: Michael Kitces, CFP, Nerd’s Eye View. Click the image to read his original blog post.

For the 2016-2017 school year:

    • You can fill out the FAFSA as soon as January 1, 2016
    • Make sure you have received all your 2015 tax information (such as W-2s), even if you haven’t filed your taxes.
    • Each school has a different FAFSA deadline – check with all the schools to which you are applying!

NEW! For the 2017-2018 school year (and beyond):

    • You will be able to fill out the FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, using your 2015 tax information
    • By using prior-prior year income information (or tax information from two years before the school year), the FAFSA will be open much earlier than ever before. This allows students to get access to more financial aid and scholarships, and plan their finances sooner.

Read more about FAFSA changes here.

What if I’m not eligible for the FAFSA?

For undocumented Texas residents who are not eligible to fill out the FAFSA, there are other options. The Texas Application for State Fiancial Aid, or TASFA, allows foreign or non-resident students to be considered Texas residents for tuition purposes.

For instructions, videos, and downloads, click the TASFA button below.