Everything You Need To Know About FAFSA

24 OCT 2022

Each year, over 13 million students who file for the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. Many states and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid—and how much they’ll get. Here we highlight who should apply for FAFSA and how to apply.


What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to get any need-based financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Submitting it is your key to accessing grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal student loans. The FAFSA asks for information about you and your family’s financial status and has to be filled out each year you are in college.

What is Need-Based Financial Aid & How Does It Work?

Need-based financial aid is based on your family's financial needs. You'll receive this type of financial aid if you demonstrate the need. When you complete the required financial aid forms (FAFSA and/or CSS Profile), your family's ability to cover college costs is determined, and the result is called the "family contribution.” The "family contribution" is subtracted from your school's fees; the final figure is your demonstrated need. The most familiar type of need-based aid is a grant, but need-based aid can also come from a campus work-study job or a subsidized student loan.

Who Should Fill Out the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available to all US citizens and permanent residents applying to US universities. Besides that, anyone applying for work-study, other merit-based scholarships, and low-interest loans should also apply for the FAFSA.

How to Fill Out the FAFSA?

You can submit the FAFSA application online, through the StudentAid app, or by mailing the forms.

To submit the online application, you will follow these steps:

  1. Get a federal student aid ID (FSA ID) for yourself and your parents.
  2. Collect all the necessary documents.
  3. Answer all the questions on the application.
  4. List the colleges to which you want to apply for.

When Should you File the FAFSA?

You can file as early as October 1 for the following academic year. It’s a good idea to apply as soon as possible because financial aid is often given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are three types of FAFSA deadlines:

  • College deadlines: Check the colleges you are interested in to find individual deadlines, as these vary.
  • State deadlines
  • Federal deadline: June 30 is the last day you can apply for federal aid for the following academic year.

Top 10 US Colleges That Offer The Most Financial Aid

In addition to government-funded financial aid, many colleges offer private financial aid programs. Utilizing both government and private funding, the following colleges offer the most financial aid:

Can I afford to study in the US?

Top Tips & Advice From Crimson’s Financial Aid Experts

Crimson offers scholarship and FAFSA support to our students. Our dedicated team of financial aid advisors and experts understand the process of financial assistance, can help you with your applications, and answer any questions you may have about financial aid. Our lead advisors sat down with us to answer some of the most common financial aid questions. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

What types of financial aid services does Crimson offer?

We offer three distinct services to Crimson families:

  • Financial Aid Review includes three hours of one-on-one time with a Financial Aid consultant. We discuss financial aid strategy, merit scholarships, and review financial aid applications. We also include an additional two hours for email and messaging support.
  • Financial Aid Support includes seven hours of one-on-one time with a Financial Aid Consultant to discuss aid strategy, merit scholarships, and assistance with the financial aid application process. We provide an additional two hours for email and messaging support.
  • Merit Scholarship Support includes by-the-hour support to research and identify merit scholarship opportunities, support in determining which scholarships to pursue, and financial aid-specific advice through the application process. Please note that this service does not include writing assistance for the merit scholarship applications, which will require support from a Strategist and Application Mentor.

Final Thoughts

Don't let finances limit your college dreams. Take advantage of financial help from the state and federal government, colleges, private organizations, scholarships, and other independent entities. By utilizing all financial aid options, you'll have more opportunities to study at a college that's perfect for you.

Learn how Crimson can help you secure financial support.

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