FINANCIAL AID APPLICATIONS (FAFSA or WASFA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application colleges use to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs. Most students will complete the FAFSA.
To start the FAFSA application process create an FSA ID at: Federal Student Aid Website
An FSA ID is needed for the student and one parent.
Once you have created your FSA ID you will use it to log in and begin your FAFSA at the FAFSA Website
If you aren’t able to complete the FAFSA you most likely will be able to complete the WASFA which is the Washington Application for State Financial Aid. You will complete the WASFA at Washington Student Achievement Council
Students who will graduate in 2024 will complete the 2024-2025 FAFSA or WASFA because it is based on the year you will be attending college.
You will use 2023 income information based on 2023 tax return and W-2 forms
You will need Parent and Student Birthdates and Social Security Numbers (if applicable)
* The FAFSA or WASFA is essential for ALL students attending college. If your family does not qualify for financial aid, the FAFSA is still useful. It may help students earn scholarships, grants, or provide lower interest rates on loans.
* The FAFSA application process opens in December.
* Many priority financial aid deadlines for colleges and universities are in January or February. To get the best financial award package, apply by the colleges’ priority date. (Please Note: you need to meet the “college” FAFSA deadline, which is much earlier than the “federal” FAFSA deadline.)
* It is also important for your family to make contact with the financial aid office with the colleges the student applies to in order to ensure they have received all the necessary information by the deadline. Keep copies of everything you send.
Understanding "Grants vs. Loans"
* Federal GRANTS are available for students attending colleges, including career colleges and universities. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid.
* Federal student LOANS allow students and their parents to borrow money to help pay for college. They have low interest rates and offer flexible repayment terms, benefits, and options.
* Subsidized loans are federally guaranteed loans based on financial need. Interest does not accrue on the loan while you are in school at least half time, or during any future deferment periods. The federal government "subsidizes" (or pays) the interest during these times. Additionally, there are maximum amounts you can receive per school year.
* Unsubsidized loans are federally guaranteed loans that are notbased on financial need. Interest does accrue from the time the loan is disbursed to the school. Additionally, there are maximum amounts you can receive per school year for dependent and independent students.
Understanding "Expected Family Contribution"
All college students are expected to contribute towards their education costs. How much you and your family will be expected to contribute depends on your financial situation — and is what’s called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The FAFSA is the form the U.S. Department of Education requires to determine your EFC. The government conducts a “need analysis” based on financial information, such as income, assets, and other family information, which you (and your parents if you are a dependent student) will be asked to provide.
Using the Net Price Calculator
All undergraduate colleges are required to have a net price calculator on their website. This provides students with an estimated cost to attend college. Here is a link for students to estimate their costs: netpricecalculator.collegeboard.org
Understanding "More About Finacial Aid & College Loans"
Paying for College from the National Center for Student Success