Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for aid?

  • Complete the FAFSA and provide the required signatures.
  • Wait 3-5 days while we process your FAFSA and send you a Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • Check the SAR carefully. Your SAR will summarize the data you report on your FAFSA.
  • Keep a copy of your SAR.
  • View your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If your FAFSA information is complete, an EFC will appear in the upper right corner of your SAR. Your EFC is based on the financial information you provide on the FAFSA.
  • Check with your school. Your school will use your EFC to award your financial aid.
  • For additional help filling out the FAFSA, Contact your school, guidance counselor or call the FAFSA student aid center at 1-800-4-FED-AID

How do I answer the tax questions if I (or my parents) don't file a tax return?

  • If you will not file a tax return: Answer “Will Not File” to question 32 (Have you completed a tax return?).
  • You will then be taken to question 38 (Income earned from work).
  • Enter any income that you earned from a job that is listed as taxed on a W2 form.
  • Answer only those income questions that apply to you from that point on.

I (or my parents) filed a joint tax return in 2011, but now I am (or my parents are) separated, divorced, or widowed. How do I answer the tax questions?

  • You: Separate your tax information from your spouse’s as if you filed a single return.
  • Your parent: Separate your parent’s information from his/her spouse’s as if he/she filed a single return.
  • Supply documentation or proof of separation to the financial aid office.

Can I have someone else fill out my FAFSA for me?

Yes. If you have someone else fill out your FAFSA for you (not including one of your parents or your spouse), you should make sure they list themselves as a “preparer” at the end of your FAFSA.

Remember, the FAFSA is a completely FREE application. If you need help filling it out, there are many free tools available to help you.

You don’t need to pay anyone to help you fill out your FAFSA.

Who figures out how much aid I will get?

  • Your school’s financial aid office will prepare a financial aid package for you to help meet your financial need. Financial need is the difference between your school’s cost of attendance and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • The amount of your financial aid also depends on whether you are a full-time or part-time student and whether you attend school for a full academic year or less.

How will I receive my financial aid?

Your federal student aid will be paid to you through your school.

  • An award letter from your school will notify you of your aid package.
  • Your aid will likely be distributed each semester. Your school will first use the aid to pay tuition, fees, and room and board, if necessary. Money left over for other expenses will be paid to you directly for outside school related expenses.

Why am I dependent?

If you can answer yes to any one of the questions on that form, then it is not necessary to provide your parent(s) information

Were you born before January 1, 1989?

·         As of today are you married?

·         Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you? Do you have dependents (other than children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you?

·         Are (a) both of your parents deceased, or (b) are you (or were you until age 18) a ward or dependent of the court?

·         Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

·         Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?


I’ve been convicted of a drug offense. Does this mean I won’t get any aid?

The question on the FAFSA regarding drug offenses asks about convictions for possessing or selling illegal drugs (not including alcohol and tobacco) if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, and/or work-study). When answering this question, do not count convictions that have been removed from your record. Also, do not count convictions that occurred before you turned 18, unless you were tried as an adult.

Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?


No. Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if they co-sign your loan. In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.


I don’t think I qualify for financial aid. Should I complete the FAFSA?


Yes! Financial aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school and to fill in the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. A number of factors in addition to family income are considered in determining your financial eligibility, including the size of your family and number of family members in college. Although most grant awards are based on financial need, some loans and scholarships are available regardless of need