What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that is used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study. The FAFSA is often the first step to apply for state and institutional aid.

What is the FAFSA Submission Summary?

Formerly known as Student Aid Report (SAR), is a summary of the information you submitted to the FAFSA. In mid-March, you will receive an email for the Department of Education notifying you that you have a FAFSA Submission Summary to review. 

What is a Student Aid Index?

This is a number calculated according to a formula set by federal law that is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Your Student Aid Index (previously known as the Expected Family Contribution) is based on the financial information you provided on your FAFSA and will be provided to you on your FAFSA Submission Summary. Please note that this number is not a bill and is not the amount you will owe to the college you plan to attend.

Who is considered a contributor/parent?

Your biological and/or adoptive parents (regardless of marital status or if they are the same or opposite gender) are considered a contributor/parent when filling out the FAFSA. Even if you do not live with one or both of your parents, you will still need to report certain information about them to qualify for most federal and state aid. For more help determining who may be considered a parent/contributor, please review this helpful chart.

Why should you complete a FAFSA?

Filing a FAFSA is the first step to qualify for many scholarship, grants, work-study, and student loans. The information you provide on your FAFSA helps determine the types and amounts of financial aid you may be eligible for. The FAFSA gives you access to four primary sources of financial aid, which include:

  1. Federal financial aid
  2. State financial aid
  3. Aid from colleges universities, and other post-secondary schools
  4. Some private scholarships and grants

How often do you need to complete a FAFSA?

You should file the FAFSA every year you plan to attend college.

Who needs to complete a FAFSA?

Any student, including first-time students, transfer students, and returning students should file the FAFSA every year you plan to attend college.

Does it cost money to file a FAFSA?

No, there is no cost to submit your FAFSA.

When should you file your FAFSA?

You should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible once the FAFSA application is open. Typically the FAFSA opens on October 1 each year; however, the 2024-2025 FAFSA was delayed due to mandatory updates. The 2024-25 FAFSA is now available on studentaid.gov

Do I have to be admitted to a school before I file my FAFSA?

No, you do not have to wait to be admitted into a college to file your FAFSA. In fact, you can list up to 20 colleges on the FASFA. This could help you compare financial aid offers and make a more informed choice.

What is the deadline to file a FAFSA?

For the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the priority deadline for the Access Missouri Grant program is April 1, 2024. Student who apply by this date will be guaranteed to receive the Access Missouri Grant if they qualify, with the award amounts to be determined later in the year. Students who file the 2024-2025 FAFSA, after April 1, 2024 may still qualify for the Access Missouri Grant, depending on funding. Students who file after June 1, 2024 will not be eligible for the Access Missouri Grant program.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some colleges and universities may have their own FAFSA deadlines for the financial aid they offer. Please check with the school you plan to attend so that you do not miss their deadline.

How do I file my FAFSA?

The quickest and easiest way to complete your FAFSA is online at fafsa.gov. Please review the FAFSA checklist to make sure you have collected all of the information you need before filing.

How do I get the required tax information?

The FAFSA requires previous tax information that should already be filed. You can use the Direct Data Exchange to auto-fill your tax information, if available. To do this, you will need to complete 4 steps:

  1. Provide consent: All students and parents must consent to the IRS Exchange
  2. Connect to the IRS site: Click the “link to IRS button” within your FAFSA and log in with you FSA ID to be transferred to the IRS to receive information
  3. Enter your information: Once you get to the IRS website, enter your information exactly as it appears on your federal income tax return and click “submit”
  4. Transfer your information: Check the “Transfer My Tax Information into the FAFSA” box and click the “Transfer Now” button. The words “transferred from the IRS” will display in place of the actual IRS information on your FAFSA form.

What do I do if I want to transfer schools?

If you transfer to a different college, your new school will need a completed FAFSA before they can award you any financial aid. Be sure to update the federal school code on your FAFSA and contact your new school about your plans to transfer. You can do this by logging on at fafsa.gov.

If you need to transfer Missouri student aid, please contact us at 800-473-6757 (select option 4).

What is an FSA ID?

The FSA ID is a way to identify you electronically to access Federal Student Aid websites. You will need an FSA ID to fill out the FAFSA. You will use your FSA ID every year you fill out the FAFSA and for the lifetime of your student loans.

How do I get an FSA ID?

To create your FSA ID please visit studentaid.gov. You will need your:

  • Social Security number
  • Full name (as it appears on your birth certificate)
  • Date of birth
  • Contact information (physical address, phone number, and email address)

You will then create a username, password, and will provide answers to some challenge questions that will help you access your account if you ever forget your username and password. Please choose your username, password, and challenge questions carefully.

When should I create my FSA ID?

You should set up your FSA ID as soon as possible. It takes 3 business days for your FSA ID to process, so you will want to create your ID before you need to file your FAFSA. You can create your FSA ID any time.

Who needs an FSA ID?

Any student filling out the FAFSA will need an FSA ID. If you are a dependent student, at least one of your parents will also need an FSA ID.

How do you determine if you’re a dependent or an independent student?

This list of questions can help you determine which type of student you are.

What happens after I submit my FAFSA?

Once you submit your FAFSA, your information will automatically be sent to the colleges that you listed on your FAFSA form. Your information will also be sent to the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development so the state can determine whether or not you are eligible for some of the Missouri financial aid programs. Once processed, you will get a FAFSA Submission Summary, which is a summary of the information you submitted. You should review this report as soon as possible and submit any corrections needed.

What should I do if I am asked to verify my FAFSA information?

You may be asked to verify the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Financial aid officers at your college may ask for your income tax records, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and other documents. You cannot get financial aid until your information has been verified, so please be sure to respond as soon as possible.

What is a student aid/financial aid offer?

If you get accepted into the colleges listed on your FAFSA, the college will calculate your aid and send you a financial aid offer. This offer will include how much aid you are eligible for at that school, and it may also include student loans.

How is my financial need calculated?

Your Student Aid Index is subtracted from a school’s cost of attendance to determine your overall financial need and the type/amount of financial aid you may be eligible for.

How can I get help with my FAFSA?

FAFSA Frenzy offers help at no cost with completing the FAFSA. FAFSA Frenzy activities are held throughout Missouri in the months of January, February and March. To find an event near you, please view the FASFA Frenzy public event calendar.

What is different about the 2024-25 FAFSA?

A few notable changes to the new FAFSA include:

  • You can no longer create and use your FSA ID in the same day.
  • You must consent to direct data exchange with the IRS to the FAFSA. If consent is not given, student will not receive federal financial aid. 
  • The new FAFSA requires the net worth of all business and farms to be reported as an asset (unless your income is $59,999 or less). 

Are these changes permanent?

Yes, the 2024-25 FAFSA will be the new FAFSA form moving forward.

Will the FAFSA always open in December now?

No, the FAFSA was delayed this year due to updates. Typically, the FAFSA opens on October 1.

How do I view my FAFSA Submission?

After your FAFSA has been submitted and processed you will be able to access your online FAFSA Submission Summary by completing the following steps:

  • You will login into www.studentaid.org using your FSA ID
  • Navigate to your Dashboard.
  • Select your processed FAFSA submission.
  • Select View FAFSA Submission Summary
  • Video from U-Aspire: How to get your FAFSA Submission Summary 

What is verification?

A process conducted to check the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA. It is intended to combat fraud in the financial aid process.  Verification is a normal step in the financial aid process to double check the information on your FAFSA. Verification is not optional and must be completed, if late or not completed it may delay or make you ineligible for federal and institutional aid.

Where can I make changes to my FAFSA?

Under “FAFSA Form Answers” you will see the information you provided and, if applicable, any information provided by your contributors.  Review the information and correct or update any of the information. 

Can I add a college or remove one from my FAFSA Form?

If any colleges are missing, if you decided you want to consider another college, or if you want to remove a college from your list, you can do so now.  Also, this part of the FAFSA Submission Summary will have more information about each college, such as graduation rate, retention rate, average cost so you can compare them and decide which is the best fit for you. 

How will I know if I have to make corrections to my FAFSA?

In the Next Steps section, you will see comments that may be informational or could require you to submit a correction or send additional documentation to the college you plan to attend.

How do I ensure my changes are accepted?

If you take any action on your FAFSA Submission Summary, such as adding another college, changing information, or correcting a mistake, make sure you click “submit” so the Department of Education will process the FAFSA again and the colleges you listed on the FAFSA will also receive the updates.