FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the FAFSA? 

The easiest way to access the FAFSA is by visiting the FAFSA website at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you want a hard copy you can ask your high school guidance counselor. In addition, you can also find the FAFSA at a local college, public library, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID.

How long after January 1 should the FAFSA form be mailed in?

Send in the form as soon as possible after January 1. It is not necessary to wait until your taxes are done to submit the FAFSA form. When filling out the FAFSA form it is acceptable to use estimates of your income, as long as they are reasonably accurate.

Aid Program

Deadline Information

Federal student aid For the 2013–14 year, you can apply between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. However, there are a few first-come, first-served federal student aid programs, so be sure to apply as soon as you can.
State student aid You can find state deadlines at www.fafsa.gov or on the paper or PDF FAFSA.
College or career school aid Check the school’s website or contact its financial aid office. School deadlines are usually early in the year (often in February or March).
Other financial aid Some programs other than government or school aid require that you file the FAFSA. For instance, you can’t get certain private scholarships unless you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant—and you can’t find out whether you’re eligible for a PellGrant unless you file a FAFSA. If the private scholarship’s application deadline is in early to mid-January, you’ll need to submit your FAFSA before that deadline.


I sent in my FAFSA over a month ago but still haven’t heard anything? What should I do next?

If you haven’t received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 319-337-5665. You will need to provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth to verify your identity.

You can also mail to

Federal Student Aid Programs
PO Box 4038
Washington, DC 52243-4038

if you want to find out whether your FAFSA has been processed or to request a duplicate copy of your SAR.

Are photocopies of the FAFSA acceptable?

No, you must submit the original FAFSA form produced by the US Department of Education. Photocopies, reproductions, facsimiles and electronic versions will not be accepted.

What should I do after I fill out the FAFSA?

Your FAFSA has to be processed, and then you get an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which your college or career school uses to figure out how much aid you can get.

I was born on January 1, when I will be 24 years old. Can I check Yes in the answer to the FAFSA question “Were you born before January 1,…” to qualify as an independent student?

The official answer is no. If you check yes, your Student Aid Report will be flagged for verification. Most financial aid administrators would use professional judgement to override the default dependency determination for a student born on January 1 who also demonstrates financial self-sufficiency.

What do the acronyms on the Student Aid Report (SAR) mean?

EFC – Expected Family Constribution
TI – Total Income
ATI – Allowances Against Total Income
STX – State and Other Tax Allowance
EA – Employment Allowance
IPA – Inflation Protection Allowance
CAI – Contribution from Available Income (Independent Student)
DNW – Discretionary Net Worth
APA – Education Savings and Asset Protection Allowance
PCA – Parents’ Contribution from Assets
AAI – Adjusted Available Income
TPC – Total Parents’ Contribution
TSC – Total Student’s Contribution
PC – Parents’ Contribution
SIC – Dependent Student’s Income Contribution
SCA – Dependent Student’s Contribution from Assets


*If you need help completing your FAFSA or with College Planning, we offer a free one hour consultation to everyone. To schedule an appointment please call our office at (630) 993-8200 or fill out this form.