‘Money: It's Personal' — Applying for federal student aid

SAN ANTONIO – The beginning of a new year means it’s time for incoming freshmen and students already enrolled in college who haven't already begun applying for federal aid ahead of the next school year, to do so in an effort to secure available funds. 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, helps students find available grants, loans or work study funds to help finance their college education.

FAFSA also serves another purpose. Colleges may use the application’s information to determine a student’s eligibility for state and school aid, and some private lenders may use the information to see if a student qualifies for their funds.

Who’s eligible for FAFSA?

Students must be a citizen or an eligible noncitizen of the United States, they must have a valid Social Security number and they must have received a high school diploma or GED certificate. Students also need to be enrolled in an eligible program in which they are a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.

The process 

The first thing you want to do to apply for the 2019-2020 school year application is to obtain your tax return from 2017. You’ll need it for many of the questions asked during the process.

After that, visit studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa and click on the “start here” button to be taken to the application. There, you’ll be asked for your Social Security number, your tax return information and your parents’ tax information, if you’re a dependent student, and several other questions to determine your eligibility for student aid.

Once you’re done with the application, you’ll review and submit it. Then, you’ll find out if you’re eligible for student aid.

Click here to learn more about the FAFSA process.

While the application for federal aid opened in October, and students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, there is more than one deadline to keep in mind when applying. There are school, state and federal deadlines. For more information on those deadlines, click here

“Money: It’s Personal” is a new series on KSAT’s News at 9 that breaks down personal finance topics. If you have a suggestion on what types of topics to explain, click here.

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