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Free Application for Federal Student Aid

If you need financial aid to help pay for postsecondary education, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the place to start. Use it to apply for federal student aid such as grants, loans and work-study.

Plus, most states and schools use information from the FAFSA to award non-federal aid, like state work-study and grants, and to determine eligibility for need-based scholarships. Even if you don’t think you will qualify for aid, complete the FAFSA anyway so you don’t miss out on opportunities.

The federal government recently made some big changes to FAFSA completion and deadlines. Beginning this year, the FAFSA will be available on Oct. 1 and you will be able to use your prior-prior year’s taxes (2015) to complete the application. Most Montana schools set their priority FAFSA date for the 2017-18 academic year as Dec. 1 (Nov. 15 at UM-Missoula and Missoula College). Be sure to confirm that date with your school. It’s a good idea to complete the FAFSA as soon after Oct. 1 as possible to ensure the best financial aid opportunities.

Need help completing the FAFSA? We’re here for you!

You’ve done your FAFSA, now what?

Did you feel a huge sigh of relief when you hit the “Submit” button on your FAFSA? Congratulations, you’ve completed an important step – arguably the most important one – to secure funding for your education. There are more steps to take, however. Check out this great blog post from Homeroom, the official blog of the US Department of Education to learn about additional applications that may be required by your school, the difference between FAFSA confirmation and your award letter, and what to do if your financial situation was not accurately reflected in your FAFSA.

Didn’t Do the FAFSA yet? No worries, you can still apply.

Students can apply for financial aid at any time. Schools use priority deadlines to package financial aid and award grants and scholarships specific to their institution. You may have missed your school’s priority deadline, but you can still apply for federal student aid.

You’ll need the following information to complete your FAFSA:

  • FSA ID – get your FSA ID (user name and password). Both the student and one parent (if the student is under the age of 24) will need a FSA ID. The ID is needed to log on to several U.S. Department of Education websites to allow access to federal student aid information. It replaces the FAFSA PIN. Those individuals who previously had a PIN will need to log on to the system to get a FSA ID and link their PIN to that ID.
  • Social Security numbers (students and parents)
  • 2015 tax returns
  • W-2s
  • Additional asset information (savings and checking account balances, real estate excluding the home in which you live, money market funds, stocks, other investments)
  • Untaxed income information (child support received, payments to retirement, health savings plans and tax-deferred pensions)

Ready to get started? Click here to do your FAFSA. Remember, you don’t need to pay someone to complete your FAFSA. You can do it!

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