In order to be considered for government financial aid, a student must fill out a FAFSA (the Free Application fo Federal Student Aid) application each year. You can fill out a FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. The information on this page comes from studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa.
When to Apply
You should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible in order to receive the best possible financial aid. Submit your FAFSA during the first few months of the calendar year in which the academic year for which you are applying for aid begins (for example, submit a FAFSA for the 2015-2016 academic year during the first few months of 2015).
What You Will Need
The information/documents you will need to fill out the FAFSA includes:
- Your Social Security number
- Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
- Your driver’s license number if you have one
- Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen
Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student:
- IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ
- Foreign tax return and/or
- Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
- Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
- Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
What to Do
- Go to fafsa.ed.gov to begin an application
- Click "Start A New FAFSA if this is your first time applying.
- Click "Login" if you already have a FAFSA account.
- Follow all instructions and prompts to submit your FAFSA.
Creating a PIN
You will be prompted to create a PIN (personal identification number) during the application process. You can also choose to create a PIN ahead of time. You must have a PIN to submit your FAFSA. The PIN acts as a legal signature for certain U.S. Department of Education websites.
Your FAFSA Password
You will create a password when filling out the FAFSA. This is not the same thing as the PIN. You will only need to use the password if you have to log back in to an unfinished FAFSA application.
Your OC Personal Financial Counselor will receive your financial aid information once your FAFSA has been processed. At this point, your PFC will correspond with you about your financial aid options as well as any additional information that she/he may need from you.