What form do I use?
If you did not apply for federal student aid for the 1999-00 school
year, you can apply for federal aid for the 2000-01 school year by completing
and mailing the 2000-01 Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA), by applying electronically (through your school), or by using the U.S.
Department of Education's new FAFSA Express software.
FAFSA Express is a free software program that allows you to
apply for federal student aid from your home computer or from a computer at a
central location like a high school, postsecondary school, public library, or
local Educational Opportunity Center that uses FAFSA Express. FAFSA
Express can be used only on a personal computer equipped with the Windows®
operating system and a modem.
You can get a FAFSA from your high school or postsecondary school or from the
Federal Student Aid Information Center. If you wish to apply using FAFSA
Express, you can download a copy of the program from the U.S. Department
of Education's World Wide Web site. The address is:
You can also order FAFSA Express on diskette by calling
1-800-801-0576. If you don't have a home computer, check with your local public
library, college, local Educational Opportunity Center, or your high school to
find out if it has a copy of FAFSA Express for public use.
If you wish to apply electronically (through your school), you must check
with your school or the school that interests you to make sure that the school
has electronic application capability.
If you did apply for federal student aid for the 199-00 school year,
you probably will be able to file a 2000-01 Renewal Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (Renewal FAFSA). You'll either receive it at your
home address or from your school. You may also be able to file a Renewal FAFSA
electronically. Currently, there is no "renewal" version of FAFSA
Express. If you want to apply using FAFSA Express, you must
complete the entire FAFSA Express program each year regardless of
how you originally applied.
If you qualify to use the Renewal FAFSA, you'll have fewer questions to
answer. Most of the information on the form will be preprinted and will be the
same as the information you gave in 1999-00 (plus any of your corrections that
were processed). You'll only have to write in some new information and
information that has changed since 1999-00 (for example, family size). Check
with your financial aid administrator if you have questions about the Renewal
For most of the federal student aid programs, the FAFSA (or Renewal FAFSA) is
the only form you need to file. To receive a Federal
Family Education Loan (FFEL) Stafford Loan or a Direct
or FFEL PLUS Loan, you will have to complete additional forms.
Remember, applying for federal student aid is FREE.
However, to be considered for nonfederal aid such as institutional aid (aid
from the school), you may have to fill out additional forms and pay a processing
fee. Check with your school to see which nonfederal application to fill out, if
Read the instructions
carefully when you complete the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA. Most mistakes are
made because students don't follow instructions. Pay special attention to any
questions on income, because most errors occur in this area.
When you apply, you should have certain records on hand. These records are
listed on the application. You should save all records and all other materials
used in completing the application because you may need them later to prove that
the information you reported is correct. This process is called verification.
If verification is required, and you don't provide it, you
won't receive aid from the SFA Programs, and you might not receive aid from
other sources. You should make a photocopy of your application (or print out a
copy of your FAFSA Express application) before you submit it. This
way, you have a copy of the data you submitted for your own records. So be sure
you keep all documents and that the information you report is accurate!
Although the process of determining a student's eligibility for federal
student aid is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility.
For instance, if your financial aid administrator believes it's appropriate,
based on the documentation you provided, he or she can change your status
from dependent to independent.
In some cases, your financial aid administrator may adjust your cost
of attendance or the information used to calculate your Expected Family
Contribution (EFC) to take into account circumstances that might affect the
amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education.
These circumstances could include a family's unusual medical or dental expenses,
or tuition expenses for children attending a private elementary or secondary
school. Also, an adjustment may be made if you, your spouse, or either of your
parents (if applicable) have been recently unemployed. If conditions such as
these apply to you or your family, contact your financial aid administrator.
Check with your financial aid administrator if you feel you have any other
special circumstances that might affect the amount you and your family are
expected to contribute. But remember, there have to be very good reasons for the
financial aid administrator to make any adjustments, and you'll have to provide
adequate proof to support those adjustments. Also, remember that the financial
aid administrator's decision is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S.
Department of Education.
Courtesy: The Financial Aid Student Guide from The
U.S. Department of Education