Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is an important part of paying for college. Submitting the FAFSA opens the door to grants and work-study funds (neither of which have to be repaid), as well as student loans and other types of financial aid.
The FAFSA is available starting on October 1 for the upcoming school year. Arizona’s public universities also have priority completion dates. Students are highly encouraged to complete an admissions application and the FAFSA as soon as possible to potentially receive the most money (read “When do I apply?” box below for priority deadlines).
Following are some commonly asked questions about the FAFSA. Hover on the box for the answers. If you have additional questions, you can find links to the universities’ financial aid offices and other helpful resources at the end of this page.
You can also text questions to BENJI - Arizona’s free, digital FAFSA assistant. Text Benji with FAFSA questions and you’ll receive an immediate answer. Get started with this digital assistant by texting “Hi Benji” to 602-786-8171.
Find answers to your questions about the FAFSA by clicking on the squares below.
What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government for college. For the Arizona high school Class of 2021, 46% completed their FAFSA and were eligible for an estimated $73 million in Pell Grants alone, yet 54% of these high school seniors left millions in free grants and scholarships on the table because they did not complete the FAFSA. Completing the FAFSA is free, and it gives students access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.
Am I eligible
Most U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens are eligible for financial aid. Requirements include:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
- Have a valid Social Security number (exceptions).
- Be enrolled or accepted to college or career school as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
- Be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan Program funds.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school.
- Sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.
- Additional information is here.
Why should I
apply for FAFSA?
Filling out and turning in the FAFSA is free and it gives students access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. There is no income cutoff to qualify for Federal Student Aid. All eligible students qualify for some type of financial aid, such as grants, work-study or loans. The FAFSA is used for financial aid for colleges/schools and potentially private donors. Filling out the form can open the door to thousands of dollars in financial aid for college from the federal government.
How do I apply?
The best way to complete the FAFSA is online at FAFSA.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on Oct. 1 for the upcoming school year. Arizona's public universities also have priority completion dates. Students are encouraged to complete an admissions application and the FAFSA as soon as possible to potentially receive the most money. Call your financial aid office and ask about their priority deadline.
How do I create
an FSA ID to
The Federal Student Aid Identification is a username and password used to access the FAFSA and electronically sign the form.
- Visit fsaid.ed.gov.
- To create your FSA ID, enter your personal email address, cell number, birth date and Social Security number. Use a personal email address instead of a high school email.
- Copy or take a photo of your FSA ID username and password as a reminder.
- You're done!
If your parent has a Social Security number, they create their own FSA ID. If they don't, they print, sign and mail the FAFSA parent signature page as opposed to signing online.
When do I apply?
The FAFSA is available each year on Oct. 1 for the upcoming school year. Students are encouraged to complete an admissions application and the FAFSA as soon as possible to secure funding. Most schools have FAFSA priority deadlines that allow students to maximize the amount of financial aid awarded. Call your financial aid office and ask about their priority deadline. Priority filing dates for Arizona's public universities are:
Arizona State University
- January 15.
Northern Arizona University
- Nov. 15 - Freshmen.
- Feb. 1 - Transfer students.
University of Arizona
- March 1 - Continuing students.
- April 1 - Fall 2022 first year, transfer and readmits.
What information do
I need for the FAFSA
You’ll need the following:
- Social Security number; Students are required to have a Social Security number (exceptions). If the parent does not have a number, they will enter 000-00-0000 when the FAFSA form asks for their Social Security number.
- Federal income tax returns, W-2s and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
- Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable).
- Records of untaxed income (if applicable).
- An FSA ID to sign electronically, which you'll create at fsaid.ed.gov.
What types of
financial aid are available
Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion in financial aid to students every year. Three types of financial aid are offered.
- Grants: Financial aid that generally doesn’t have to be repaid. These include the federal Pell Grant for undergraduates with financial need.
- Loans: Borrowed money for college or career school; your loans must be repaid with interest.
- Work-Study: A federal work program through which undergraduates and graduate students at participating schools earn money to help pay for school.
What types of grants are available through FAFSA financial aid?
Types of Grants
- Pell Grants: Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate or professional degree.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): For undergraduates with exceptional financial need at participating schools.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: For undergraduate and graduate students going to school to become elementary or secondary school teachers.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: For students with a parent or guardian who died after the events of 9/11 as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
What types of loans are available through FAFSA financial aid?
Types of Loans
- Direct subsidized loan: For undergraduates, interest is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while the student is in school and during periods of deferment. (Deferment allows you to temporarily stop making payments.)
- Direct unsubsidized loan: For undergraduates and graduate students, the student borrower is responsible for all interest.
- Direct PLUS loan: For graduate and professional students and for parents of dependent undergraduates, the borrower is responsible for all interest.
What types of work-study are available through FAFSA financial aid?
Federal work-study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay for school. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.
- Work-study provides part-time employment while enrolled in school.
- It’s available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with financial need.
- It’s available to full-time or part-time students.
- It’s administered by schools participating in the Federal Work-Study Program. Check with your school's financial aid office for information.
Am I a dependent or independent student?
Your dependency status determines whose information you report when you fill out the FAFSA form.
A dependent student provides their information and their parents’ information.
An independent student is one of the following - at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. An independent student reports their information (and, if married, their spouse’s).
More information is available here.
Who is considered a legal parent for the FAFSA?
A legal parent includes a biological or adoptive parent, or a person that the state has determined to be your parent (for example, when a state allows another person’s name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate). Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles are not considered parents unless they have legally adopted you. Find more information here.
Are there other sources of financial aid?
There are other sources of financial aid you can explore, including aid from other government agencies, the university you plan to attend, nonprofit or private organizations and more. You can explore other financial aid sources at StudentAid.gov/understand-aid/types.
Am I eligible for financial assistance through the Arizona Promise Program?
The Arizona Promise Program is a guaranteed scholarship that provides financial assistance for students whose federal Pell Grants and other gift aid don’t cover tuition and fees. Qualifying students are guaranteed tuition, mandatory fees and program fees will be covered.
To qualify, a student must:
- Be an Arizona resident.
- Graduate high school with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
- Complete the FAFSA and qualify for the maximum federal Pell Grant.
- Be accepted and enroll in ASU, NAU or UArizona as a first-time, full-time, on-campus degree seeking student in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.
- Click here for more information.
Questions and Resources?
If you have additional questions, or need to talk to someone about FAFSA, contact the financial aid offices at ASU, NAU and UArizona:
There are many other resources and experts to assist you with additional questions:
- Talk to your school counselor for advice and information about FAFSA events.
- BENJI - BENJI is Arizona’s free, digital FAFSA assistant. Text Benji with FAFSA questions and you’ll receive an immediate answer. Get started with this digital assistant by texting “Hi Benji” to 602-786-8171.
- Federal Student Aid website
- Arizona FAFSA Hotline - 1-833-AZ-FAFSA (833-293-2372). Students and families can call the hotline between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday for free FAFSA support.
- One-on-one FAFSA meetings - Students and families can schedule one-on-one appointments with local FAFSA experts for help. All appointments take place virtually via ZOOM, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. Click HERE to schedule a meeting.
- The FAFSA process (pdf)