FAFSA Resources

What is FAFSA and why do you need it?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is often the main source of financial aid for GEAR UP students. The amount and type of financial aid a student receives through the FAFSA is based on how much annual income their household earned prior to applying, taking into consideration the household size and how many household members will be attending college. FAFSA money is awarded in three ways: Grants (free money), work-study (earned money), and loans (borrowed money). It is possible to be awarded all three, but we discourage accepting any loans if possible, which is discussed in more detail on our Planning for College page.

Some students might have circumstances (for example: undocumented families) that keep them from being able to complete the FAFSA application. Do not lose heart. There are still very good resources for paying for college for students in these situations. Please see our webpage about other sources of financial aid for DACA students.

DACA Students

Before You Begin the FAFSA

Before starting your FAFSA application, you must create an FSA ID. It is recommended that you create it at least three days before you begin your FAFSA. Your FSA ID will be your login and your signature for the FAFSA website, so do not forget it. Your parent(s) will also need an FSA ID so they can sign your FAFSA. If they already have an FSA ID from a previous FAFSA, they will use that one. Only one FSA ID can be associated with your Social Security Number. Click the button below to begin!

Create Your FSA ID

Things to Gather

To complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), you will need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned.
    (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically.
    (Note: You will create this on the FAFSA website. It is recommended to create it at least 3 days before you would like to begin the FAFSA.)

If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).

Get More Help

10 Most Common Mistakes

The Department of Education has put together a collection of the 10 most common mistakes that students and their parents make when filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please take a moment to read of these to be sure that you do not make these easy to avoid blunders.

Avoid These Mistakes

After you have Submitted

Five Things to Do After Filing Your FAFSA Form:

  1. Review Your FAFSA Confirmation Page
  2. Review your Student Aid Index (SAI), which you will receive after your FAFSA application is processed
  3. Apply for as many scholarships as you can
  4. Be on the lookout for your aid offer(s)
  5. Make FAFSA corrections, if needed

After Submitting FAFSA