Filling out the FAFSA shouldn't be stressful. To put you and your family at ease, we asked Eric Addington, Concordia's associate vice president for Enrollment and Financial Aid, to address your most commonly asked FAFSA questions.
What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it’s the form used to apply for financial aid at most colleges and universities in the United States. It collects basic information about a student’s family and family finances and sends that information to higher education institutions where it’s used to determine how much financial aid to award to an individual student.
Why should I fill out a FAFSA?
In order to be considered for the full range of financial aid programs, a FAFSA needs to be submitted. Eligibility for certain grants and loans can only be determined with a completed FAFSA. By not filing a FAFSA, you may be leaving free money on the table in the form of federal, state, or institutional grant dollars.
Should I be anxious about filling out the FAFSA?
Absolutely not! The good news is, if you are anxious or uncertain about completing the form, we are willing and able to help you. Simply give Concordia’s Financial Aid Office a call or send us an email to schedule a time either in person or on the phone to work on the FAFSA together.
What information do I need to complete the FAFSA?
The first thing you need is an FSA ID – Federal Student Aid Identification. The student and a parent need an FSA ID in order to electronically sign the FAFSA. In addition, students and parents will need Social Security numbers and birthdates handy. The 2017-2018 FAFSA will ask questions about both the student and parent 2015 Federal Income Tax Returns. Having your 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, as well as all W-2 forms, will be helpful as well. Finally, having an idea about the current balance of savings and checking accounts along with the value of non-retirement assets is important, too. Concordia's FAFSA code is 002346.
Where do I find the FAFSA?
Complete the FSA ID online at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid and complete the FAFSA at www.FAFSA.ed.gov
What is the FAFSA deadline?
Each state has a FAFSA deadline. The deadline in Minnesota is 30 days after the start of the academic year. For Concordia, that is Sept. 30, 2017. The federal aid deadline is June 30, 2018. At Concordia, we recommend having your FAFSA on file by Nov. 1, 2016. We begin sending out financial aid awards shortly after that date and in order to give you as much time as possible, we ask for your FAFSA to be on file by then.
How is this different from last year's FAFSA?
Students will be able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.
Who can I contact if I have more questions or need help?
Eric Addington is the associate vice president for Enrollment and Financial Aid.