Many factors affect eligibility for federal financial aid; therefore, all students should apply for financial aid every year even if they think they do not otherwise qualify.
FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. Students use the FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, such as grants, loans, and work-study.
The FAFSA must be submitted for each year the student wants financial aid.
Income tax return. If you are filing a 2021–2022 FAFSA form, the federal information from your 2019 income tax return is used.
Expected Family Contribution. The questions on the FAFSA are required to calculate the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC measures the student’s family’s financial strength and is used to determine the student’s eligibility for federal student aid. The EFC is split between an expected amount contributed from the student usually more) and an expected amount being contributed from the parents.
Student Aid Report. A student’s EFC will be listed on their Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR summarizes the information submitted on the student’s FAFSA.